In an intriguing turn of events, the Ukrainian Air Force unveiled a video on July 3 that hinted at an undisclosed story behind the mysterious downing of several Russian aircraft on May 13. The video hinted that one of the gifted Patriot air defense systems might have played a pivotal role in this dramatic incident, sparking curiosity among global defense enthusiasts.
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The incident, which unfolded on Russian soil, resulted in the shocking loss of a minimum of four, possibly even five, Russian military aircraft. The footage presented an enigmatic snapshot that caught the eye of many defense aficionados – a Patriot battery adorned with the images of two Russian fighter jets and three Russian helicopters, intriguingly marked with the date “May 13”.
This cryptic clue hinted at a possible connection between these aircraft and the adrenaline-fueled events of that day. The release of this video was strategically timed to coincide with the commemoration of the Anti-Aircraft Missile Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Day. This significant day for Ukraine offers a platform to celebrate and acknowledge the remarkable accomplishments of its military personnel, making the release of this video all the more poignant.
May 13 marked a devastating day for Russian Aerospace forces, as told by the EurAsian Times. Two Russian Mi-8 helicopters, a Su-34 fighter bomber, and a Su-35S fighter fell from the sky with no survivors to tell the tale. The aircraft met their end in Russia’s Bryansk Oblast, a region that mirrors Ukraine’s Chernihiv Oblast in the northeast.
Adding to the intrigue, Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Col. Yuri Ihnat suggested a third helicopter might have been downed. He further stirred the pot by proposing the Russians might have mistakenly shot down their own aircraft.
The initial report of this incident left many questions unanswered, including which specific air defense system was responsible for the takedown of the Russian Aerospace Force fighters. However, emerging video evidence hints at the possible involvement of the Patriot air defense system in this dramatic event.
As reported by the EurAsian Times, the element of surprise played a key role in the success of the Ukrainian forces. Yet, it was anticipated that Russia would respond by introducing new tactics or weaponry into the fray.
Did The Patriots Make The Kill?
During the incident, two Mi-8 helicopters were shot down. At least one was a Mi-8MTPR-1 model, equipped with Rychag-AV radar-jamming equipment, and the other is believed to have been a dedicated search-and-rescue helicopter. The Su-34 and Su-35 fighters were also targeted on that fateful day. The Su-34 was attempting to launch a glide bomb at Chernihiv, while the Su-35 was acting as a guardian, shielding the Su-34 from Ukrainian interceptors.
In the high-stakes game of aerial warfare, Russia employs a 3,300-pound glide bomb to strike at the heart of Ukrainian cities and military forces. The Russian weapon is a gritty equivalent to the winged Joint Direct Attack Munition glide bomb, a gift of firepower from the United States to Ukraine.
Launched from nosebleed altitudes, this glide bomb allows Russian fighter crews to rain down destruction without crossing into Ukrainian airspace. This clever tactic mitigates the risk posed by Western-supplied air-defense systems such as Patriots, Iris-Ts, and NASAMS.
Before the West’s generous delivery of defense systems, Ukraine’s S-300 system was the lone wolf standing against Russian planes on their side of the border. However, its limited missile supply forced Ukrainian troops to use it sparingly, like a precious commodity.
Details surrounding the recent ambush are shrouded in uncertainty. Perhaps it was the Patriot system that clipped the wings of the two Sukhoi aircraft, followed by Ukrainian forces setting their sights on and downing the Russian Mi-8 helicopters. The quick succession of these events suggests the helicopters might have been within a stone’s throw during the Sukhoi takedowns. Yet for this domino effect to occur, Ukrainian forces would have had to sneak their Patriot batteries closer to the border areas, like chess pieces on a global board of warfare.
Patricia Marins, a defense analyst based in Brazil, shares her insight with EurAsian Times, saying, “A Patriot would be able to reach that distance if the launchers are near the border.” She adds a twist to the tale, “I don’t think they [Ukraine] should move an expensive Patriot battery there. It would be easier and cheaper to move a Buk, and the holes on the debris are evidence of Buk missiles.”
Marins made an intriguing comment regarding the markings on the equipment, pointing out that they originate from details shared by the Ukrainian Air Force. Yet, he also hinted at the potential exaggeration of these figures. In the same vein, Mike Mihajlovic, a seasoned defense technologies expert and an ex-Army officer from the Canadian armed forces, gave his insights to the EurAsian Times. He candidly stated, “In my experience, Ukraine tends to supply about 90% misinformation.”
Interestingly, Mihajlovic observed specific markings in the video that purportedly showed the downing of a Kinzhal, which he dismissed as being implausible. He further commented, “Much of the content Kyiv ‘publishes’ is politically inspired. With the Vilnius summit on the horizon, they need to prove to their benefactors that their investments are bearing fruit.”
He went on to say, “I’m not denying the possibility of a Patriot system firing or scoring some hits, but I believe only a meager 5-10% of that might be credible.” The Patriot system’s limited mobility is a notable concern, making it highly risky to position it close to the border for ambushing Russian planes. Marins echoed this sentiment, highlighting the vulnerability of the Patriot batteries. He warned they could easily be spotted, targeted, and subjected to a bombing near the border, especially in smaller cities.
However, the former Canadian Army Officer conceded that while risky, it’s not entirely out of the question and could have occurred. He also shared his preference for the S-300V system if he were in a position of authority. Nonetheless, he agreed that if Ukraine’s claims held water, they deserved commendation.
Mihajlovic emphasized the need for a heavy dose of skepticism when dealing with Ukrainian claims, suggesting taking them with “not just a grain of salt but rather a bag of salt.” Meanwhile, the reasons behind Ukraine’s delay in revealing the potential involvement of a Patriot battery remain shrouded in mystery, inviting speculation. During a press briefing on June 3, Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Col. Yuri Ihnat did not mention anything about the Patriot battery, nor was he questioned about it.
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