Russian fighters enter the range of NASAMS, IRIS-T, and S-300 – Kyiv

According to the military command in Kyiv, the Russian Aerospace Forces [VKS] have already taken a new tactic. In the air, say Kyiv, Russian fighter jets are already operating in an offensive operational position. I.e. Russian fighter jets are flying less and less on patrols.

Ukraine has deployed an 'Egyptian' air defense system IRIS-T
Photo credit: Telegram

For several days, Russian warplanes have been deliberately entering the range of Ukrainian anti-aircraft systems. The purpose of the new Russian tactic is to discover the location of the Ukrainian air defense. We know that Ukraine has Soviet S-300 air defense systems, as well as recently delivered Patriot, IRIS-T, and NASAMS.

The news of the changed Russian tactics in the air was confirmed by official Kyiv through Mr. Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky, the head of the Ukrainian United Press Center of the Tavric Direction.

Why now?

One of the first tasks in the air when operating in an operational attack position is to detect the port’s air defenses. Remember the beginning of the war – in the first days and weeks, the Russian Air Force had to neutralize the enemy’s air defense. In a sense, they succeeded in doing so, and since then Russian fighter jets have been flying much more freely over Ukraine. This is the reason for the intense air attacks from the air.

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

Ukraine has not yet recovered its pre-war anti-aircraft capability. Gradually, however, it received supplies of various air defense systems. If this process continues, and the Russian Air Force does not take action, in the coming months until the end of the year, at the rate of deliveries, Ukraine will have better anti-aircraft defense than it does now. This will be a threat to Russian warplanes.

Deliberate entry into the range of the enemy’s air defense system, however, also means something else – Ukraine does not use the radars of these air defense systems. I.e. Russian planes cannot locate where they are. Therefore, they take a risk – entering the zone and range means that Ukraine will have to turn on the radar to target the missile for interception. The non-use of Ukrainian air defense radars confirms a known fact – Ukraine is shelling Russian positions thanks to real-time targeting information from US/NATO AWACS.

The risk was accepted by Moscow

The official announcement from Kyiv that the Russian Air Force has changed tactics is no secret. Nor should it surprise us, because this was officially announced already at the beginning of the year by the command in Moscow. wrote in January that the Russian Air Force will use massive aviation. A source from Russia’s military department announced in a private conversation with a Russian journalist that Moscow is preparing to change tactics. According to the source, Moscow will no longer carry out so often patrols or defensive flights, but offensive ones. Exactly what is happening now, according to the claims of official Kyiv.

Russian helplessness - both NASAMS had a 100% success rate
Photo credit: Twitter

This also says something else – Moscow has accepted the fact that it will lose planes. Because changing tactics and accepting the risk of engaging the enemy’s air defenses means that you will be more often on target and the chance of being hit is greater.

Drones decoy

Mr. Dmitrashkovsky also spoke about the way Russia uses its drones today. It turns out that the Russian armed forces have changed the tactics of these weapons as well.

Iran’s Shahed-136 [Geran-2] drones are already being used as decoys. Their purpose is to locate exactly where a stationary or mobile air defense system is located. When the system identifies the drone as a threat, it fires a missile. The probability of Shahed-136 being shot down is very high. But at that moment, the system was attacked from another direction by the Russian Lancet kamikaze drone.

I.e. this looks like a game of chess, which raises a very interesting and important question – could the Russians have managed to synchronize the data transfer between the Iranian Shahed-136 drones and the Russian Lancet drones? Because the attack, according to the Ukrainian spokesman, happened in a very short time interval.

Hobson’s choice

The long-discussed and commented aerial bombs in recent weeks are also already being used in another way by the Russian Air Force. This information is again provided by Dmitrashkovsky.

“Flying 500 and 1,500 kg flying explosives” are also used as a kind of decoy. The Russian Air Force knows that the aerial bomb will necessarily fulfill its purpose, the question is whether it will fulfill a higher purpose.

Bombs deal heavy damage. What the Ukrainians should do with them is an incredibly difficult decision, as they are faced with a Hobson’s choice. I.e. if the air defense system does not try to intercept the bomb, destruction is guaranteed. And here is the problem [Hobson’s choice].

Su-34 may have 'anomalously dropped' a FAB-500M62 bomb on Belgorod
Photo by VitalyKuzmin

If the air defense is activated, there is a chance to intercept the aerial bomb. But the moment it turns on, the air defense system becomes visible to the Russian fighter in the air. It immediately launched the Kh-31P air-to-surface missile, aimed at the Ukrainian air defense system. Of course, it is not certain that the missile will hit the system, but in reality, there is already such a risk that this will happen. I.e. the air defense battery commander must make a decision that can lead to intercepting the bomb but destroying the air defense system; intercepting the missile but not intercepting the bomb and not intercepting both flying threats.

It is clear from Dmitrashkovsky’s statement that Russian tactics are aimed at tightening the hoop on the front line. And something new is coming for the Ukrainian armed forces. According to our sources, Russia is preparing to deploy along the entire length of the front line LO Sirius heavy drone. It’s a drone with 100kg of precision-guided bombs.


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