Russia fires blanks to determine S-400 range against F-16 – Ukraine

In the words of high-ranking Ukrainian military officials who once served under General Valery Zaluzhny before his dismissal in February, as cited by Politico, dependence on Russian transgressions is not a strategic approach – as the Russians learn quickly. These officers paint a daunting image of the war scenario. writes about this, analyzing the statement of the Ukrainian officers.

S-400 jointly with A-50 AEW&C shot down Su-27 and MiG-29 - Russia
Photo credit: LinkedIn

“We’re in the middle of not just a military crisis, but a political one as well. While Ukraine is resisting mass mobilization, Russia is fervently amassing resources, ready to conduct a large-scale offensive as early as August, if not sooner,” one of the Ukrainian commanders stated. 

With the Russian armed forces primed for attack, there’s a significant risk of a front-line collapse, according to these officials. Furthermore, due to their numerical advantage and the ongoing onslaught of guided attacks on Ukrainian regions during recent weeks, Russian soldiers appear prepared to breach “the front line and fracture it in some areas,” as per their assessments.
Photo credit: MWM

“Ukraine is in a dire situation at the moment, lacking the sophisticated technology to match Russia’s bombardment of troops. We simply don’t have the tech and the West isn’t equipped with enough of it either,” commented a source for Politico. 

Numerous missteps

Merely hoping for blunders from Russia isn’t a sound strategy, according to officials. Ukraine and the West have stumbled upon numerous missteps since the conflict started. They also strongly condemned the sluggish response of Western nations, pointing out that the arms are being delivered too slowly and in inadequately small amounts to bring about any significant shift in circumstances. 

Greece has Soviet S-300, but will not be sanctioned, the US said
Photo credit: AFP

“Zaluzhny referred to the ongoing conflict as a ‘one-shot affair.’ His intent was to highlight the quick obsolescence of weapons systems as Russia promptly devises a counteraction tactic. As an example, we implemented the Storm Shadow and SCALP cruise missiles [contributed by Britain and France] successfully, though only for a short while. The Russians are vigilant learners, seldom offering us a second chance. Their approach has proven effective. Don’t fall for the misconception that they’re simply throwing their soldiers onto the battlefield as cannon fodder,” an officer remarked.

It’s no secret that the military often faces issues with the timely delivery of weapons systems; F-16 fighter jets serve as a prime example. Ukrainian pilots are wrapping up their basic training, with twelve F-16s set to land this summer, a year later than they were initially needed, in 2023. 

Rockets carried no warheads

US-made F-16 in the sky over the Black Sea: predator or prey?
Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

One of our sources recently shared some intriguing information with us: “We’ve been observing rockets being launched from Jankoy in northern Crimea by the Russians. Curiously, these rockets carried no explosive warheads. It took us some time to understand their intent. Eventually, it became clear that they were calibrating their missile and radar systems for the formidable S-400 air defense systems. The objective? To pinpoint the most effective locations for maximum range coverage against the F-16s, keeping them at bay from the front line and crucial logistics centers.” 

Currently, the Ukrainian armed forces are stretched thin, with not enough men at the front line. The pressing need is for as many artillery shells and men as they can gather. Despite the looming threat of a Russian offensive, the authorities remain hesitant to increase the number of enlisted men, fearing potential political repercussions,” revealed the officers. They referenced how back in December, Zaluzhny had publicly called for the mobilization of at least 500 thousand individuals—a topic that continues to ignite passionate debates.

S-400 SAM

S-400's interceptor fires metal fragments at the target's warhead
Photo credit: Russian MoD

The S-400 Triumf, also known as SA-21 Growler by NATO, represents one of the world’s most advanced long-range defense missile systems. It was developed by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau in the 1990s as an upgraded version of the S-300 family with the main purpose of detecting, tracking, and eliminating a variety of aerial targets, ranging from reconnaissance aircraft to ballistic missiles. 

At the core of the S-400 system are four main components: a radar complex with a detection range spanning up to 600 kilometers, a command and control center, launch vehicles, and an assortment of missile types. The radar complex possesses the capability of tracking up to 300 targets concurrently, thereby providing the system with a comprehensive overview of the airspace. Meanwhile, the command and control center delves into the radar data, pinpoints potential threats, and directs the missile launches. 

However, it’s the missiles of the system that truly impress. The S-400 boasts the ability to deploy four distinct types of missiles to cover its comprehensive engagement envelope. These encompass the very long-range 40N6 [400 km], the long-range 48N6 [250 km], the medium-range 9M96E2 [120 km], and the short-range 9M96E [40 km]. Each of these missiles is methodically designed for a particular type of target and threat, from stealth aircraft and UAVs to cruise and ballistic missiles.

How it works?

The S-400 operates by integrating all these components. When a potential threat is detected by the radar, the information is sent to the command and control center. The threat is then identified and prioritized. Once a decision is made to engage the target, the appropriate missile is chosen and launched from the vehicle. The missile uses data from the command center, updated in real-time, to intercept and destroy the target. 

Overall, the S-400’s operational range and versatility make it a formidable air defense system. Its ability to engage a wide range of targets, combined with its long detection and engagement ranges, provides a high level of protection against any aerial threat.


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