Russian aviation hit US AN/TPQ-50 counter mortar radar station

Russian combat aviation delivered several serious strikes on the night between April 21 and 22. The attacks were concentrated in the Kupiansk direction, the Russian Defense Ministry said in its daily briefing.

Russian aviation hit US AN/TPQ-50 counter mortar radar station
Photo credit: US Army

The Kupiansk direction is a target of the Russian army, as this area is an important railway junction. Near the Ukrainian village of Staritsa, located in this region, AN/TPQ-50 radar station was hit. The attack managed to destroy an ammunition depot of the 67th mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In addition to the radar station, two armored combat vehicles were destroyed [it was not specified which].

The AN/TPQ-50 is an American-made radar. This radar is mobile. It is easily integrated into a brigade ground unit, field artillery, or divisional battle group. The radar is designed to detect artillery shells and missiles, as well as artillery systems or mortars.

Important for defense

For the Ukrainian armed forces, this type of radar is extremely useful. Although it can detect artillery shells flying towards it, the ability to identify the points producing those artillery shells is of utmost importance. Once fired, the enemy is exposed to danger as their location “lights up” on the radar.

Russian aviation hit US AN/TPQ-50 counter mortar radar station
Photo credit: Twitter

Russia also uses similar radar stations, such as in the Buk-M3 air defense systems, but their accuracy is lower compared to the American radar. For example, a Russian soldier confirmed to the Russian media Izvestnia that the Ukrainians needed to launch three HIMARS missiles in succession for the Russian radar to track the path of the rockets, thereby detecting the location of the MLRS. While the TPQ-50 has an 85% identification success rate on the first enemy shot.

It is most likely for this reason that the Russian military used combat aviation, subsequently supported by artillery fire. Once the radar station is destroyed, the Russian artillery can attack the ammunition depots as well as other combat platforms in the area unmolested.

Deliveries from 2023

The AN/TPQ-50 is a relatively new mobile radar station. At the end of last year, Washington reported that the first AN/TPQ-50 radars would start arriving in Ukraine from the beginning of 2023. They were part of a larger package of military aid to Ukraine. The AN/TPQ-50 has azimuth coverage and a maximum range of up to 10 km.

But this was an announced delivery of the larger quantity of AN/TPQ-50 radars. The first three actually arrived at the end of November 2022.

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

On 21 February 2022, Russia claimed that Ukrainian shelling had destroyed an FSB border facility. Russia claimed that it had killed 5 Ukrainian soldiers. They tried to cross into Russian territory. Ukraine denied being involved in both incidents and called them a false flag.

On the same day, the Russian government formally recognized the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR. According to Putin not only in their de-facto controlled areas, but the Ukrainian Oblasts as a whole. Putin ordered Russian troops, including tanks, to enter the regions.

10+ Russian Su-30s began tactical rehearsals over Kaliningrad - Su-30SM
Photo credit: Twitter

On 24 February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine by Russian Armed Forces previously concentrated along the border. The invasion followed by targeted airstrikes of military buildings in the country, as well as tanks entering via the Belarus border.

Russia has so far not recognized the invasion of Ukraine as a “war”, although that is exactly what it is, claiming that it is a “special military operation”. According to the UN, a “special military operation” can only take place after a UN resolution. There is no such resolution. So this is an invasion and war against Ukraine.


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