Ukraine will use Soviet SAM system that has downed the F-117

KYIV ($1=36.64 Ukrainian Hryvnias) — Ukraine has in service two divisions, or eight launchers of Soviet S-125 Pechora/Neva surface-to-air missiles [SAM]. A photo posted on Twitter shows the words “Glory to Ukraine” on one of the rockets. Most likely, the Ukrainian armed forces will use the anti-aircraft missile system in the coming days.

Ukraine will use Soviet SAM system that has downed the F-117
Photo credit: Twitter

By itself, this missile system can hardly meet the demands of modern warfare. It was developed by the Soviet Union in the 1950s. Entered service in 1962. It has participated in almost all wars from the 1960s to today, but if Ukraine uses the S-125, it will be the first documented participation in the war in Ukraine.

The S-125 can be both a fixed and a mobile system transported by Russian ZIL infantry fighting vehicles. This system was created to replace the even older S-75 air defense system. The S-125 can use three types of missiles.

'We see the invisible' or how the Serbs shot down US F-117
Short-range SAM system S-125 Neva/Pechora, photo credit: Wikipedia

V-600 [or 5V24] is a missile with a very short range – only 15 km. 60 kg weighs the warhead of this missile, which is of the HE type – highly explosive. The 5V27 is another type of missile that has a warhead weighing 70 kg. The warhead of this missile consists of a high explosive substance and explosive fragments. The range is greater than the previous one – up to 35 km. The third missile is a modification of the second – 5V27D. There is very little information about it, but in general the range of the missile remains the same.

All rockets have the so-called guidance system CLOS ie. the missile is guided using the angular coordinates between it and the target. For a hit, the launcher must visually see the target, and any deviation of the missile from this line is corrected.

However, this missile system is a legend. Now that the features have been described you should know that this missile shot down an F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter during the war in Yugoslavia. Here’s the short version of the story.

On March 27, 1991, the F-117 Vega 31 fighter became a victim of the C-125 system of the 250th anti-missile brigade of the Yugoslav Army, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Zoltan Dani [today he is a Serbian national hero and baker].

The Serbs did hit two US F-117s, one of the pilots confirmed
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Serbs took advantage of the fact that the Americans were flying almost the same route every night. In order not to be detected, the Serbs activated the S-125 radar in just 17 seconds. Every time the radar was activated, the Serbian troops hoped to “detect something in the air”. When they failed, they quickly disabled the radar and moved to another area, repeating the same exercise. It was in one of these 17-second windows that Vega 31 was detected and visually sighted. It is believed that it was then that the F-117 also spotted the radar coordinates of the anti-missile system and opened the interior compartment in preparation for bombing. It was at this moment that the Serbian colonel simply fired the rocket. The F-117 is hit, falls quickly to the ground, and the pilot manages to eject. Later, after the end of the war, the two adversaries, Lt. Col. Zoltan Dani and F-117 pilot Dale Zelko, became friends. Years later, Zelko returns to where he was overthrown. Zoltan Dani and Dale Zelko become friends and their families visit each other.

Ukraine has most likely eliminated a large number of these missile systems. Sources claim that in the upcoming battles in which the legendary S-125 will be launched, naval Russian targets will also be attacked, which means that the Ukrainians will try to use the system as an anti-ship.

The fact that the photo was posted on Twitter with the text “the system is located somewhere around the Black Sea” confirms the claim that it is quite possible that the Ukrainians are using the S-125 as an anti-ship missile system.

There is a report shortly after the start of the war that this system was used. The report claims, but this information has not been confirmed, that a Russian Su-35 was shot down by an S-125, somewhere in the Kharkiv area.


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