Su-34 is failing to destroy the arms supply network in Ukraine

PANAGYURISHTE, BULGARIA — The war in Ukraine can be ended in many ways. If diplomacy fails, it remains to be decided on the battlefield. On the battlefield, Russia has a chance to end the war now. Even without the Russian army retreating or surrendering. This is where Russia fails the most.

Russian Su-34s bombed pro-Turkish positions in Idlib, Syria
Photo credit: Wikipedia

We have noticed the calm in the statements of the Russian Ministry of Defense when it is necessary to comment on another delivery of Western weapons. Each time such news is followed by the following exclamation: “The new supply becomes the target of the Russian army”. The optimism that exudes from such statements leaves you with the feeling that Ukraine, not Russia, should solve some problem. However, it turns out to be just the opposite.

If Russia is capable of precision strikes, Ukraine would be in great trouble. Ukraine’s Western allies would have a hard time. But not only is this not happening, but the “inaccuracy” opens the door wide for the Ukrainian army and an alleged counter-offensive.

Russia could quickly end the war if it struck Ukraine’s arms supply network. On April 9, a Su-34 carried out an airstrike on the bridge over the Sudost River in Chernihiv in northern Ukraine. The seemingly large plume of smoke after the impact leaves you with the impression that the bridge is destroyed. When the smoke cleared, everyone saw that the bridge had been hit by a missile, but was still usable.

This raises many questions. First: whether a Kh-29TD air-to-surface missile or a FAB-500M62 aerial bomb was used. Claims vary and at this time we do not know which ammunition was fired.

Su-34 is failing to destroy the arms supply network in Ukraine
Video screenshot

The second question follows logic: if the Su-34 fails to destroy a bridge with a beyond-visual-range missile, then shouldn’t the bridge at its base be blown up? Well, logically the answer is yes, but this is a problem for Russia. That means sending in a diversionary group. But the weapons supply networks are not in Eastern Ukraine, but in Western Ukraine. Russia has no control there. Therefore, it uses air-to-ground missiles beyond visual range.

Of course, Russian aviation can take risks by going further into Ukraine, approaching its western part. This is also a problem: Ukraine has deployed both the rest of its air defense systems and Western-supplied ones. The risk of the Russian Su-34 fighter bomber, which is most often used for such missions, being shot down is much greater.

Currently, the Su-34 is failing. Yes, the fighter jet is flying smoothly in the Ukrainian skies, but it shows no efficiency. Can its failure be stopped? Interestingly, in the US they believe that the course of the war could radically change in the coming weeks. And it is not about the Ukrainian offensive at all, but about even greater Russian supremacy.

It is known that the Su-34 does not fly in central and western Ukraine because of the Ukrainian BUK air defense systems. Yes, Ukraine has Western air defense systems, but they are neither sufficient nor sufficiently armed with missiles. Therefore, the key is the state of the Ukrainian BUK.

Buk-M3 SAM in Ukraine: Mach 4.6, frag-HE warhead, 36 target channels
Photo: Wikipedia

The leaked Pentagon report that became the number one topic this past week reveals an ominous truth about Ukraine’s BUK systems. According to the Americans, Ukraine will run out of missiles for the BUK system by the end of April this year. This worries Washington. On the Hill, they see that Russian long-range airstrikes have a single goal: depleting Ukraine’s self-defense reserves.

This could give a new role to Russian aviation and especially to the Su-34. According to tacticians, the Su-34 will be used at full strength in the weeks after Ukraine drastically reduced its use of BUK missiles. New, much larger airstrikes are expected, and this time, it is assumed that due to the possibility of deeper penetration into Ukraine, they will be more precise.

The failure of the Su-34 in destroying the bridge over the Sudost River is palpable. It’s not typical, but it might be. The Su-34 in combination with the MiG-31 and Su-35 easily destroyed Ukraine’s military-industrial enterprises. Kyiv today is forced to really rely on Western supplies and on exported production in neighboring countries.

10 Su-35s attack with bombs hidden beyond the range of air defenses
Photo credit: Twitter

But the Su-34 cannot cope with the route for the delivery of Western weapons to Ukraine. Ammunition flies but does not deliver accurate and precise hits. Or at least not the desired defeats. This raises the inevitable question: how accurate is the “precision” beyond visual range missiles under the wings of the Russian fighter bomber?

However, let’s not forget a political act: the inaccuracy of the Su-34 may also be due to the already suspended access to Western components of Russia due to the imposed economic sanctions. A little late, as some say, but they came anyway.


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