Bulgaria will donate S-300 malfunctioning missiles to Ukraine

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Members of the Bulgarian Parliament are contemplating a significant proposition regarding the donation of missiles for the S-300 air defense system, a pivotal element safeguarding the country’s airspace. 

As reported by Obektivno.bg, numerous key Bulgarian parties such as GERB [Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria], SDS [Union of Democratic Forces], PP [Change Continues], DB [Yes Bulgaria], and DPS [Movement for Rights and Freedoms] proposed offering additional military assistance to Ukraine. The proposed aid includes anti-aircraft-guided missiles intended for the S-300 air defense system. 

This proposal is spearheaded by prominent Bulgarian politicians such as Boyko Borisov [GERB], Hristo Ivanov [DB], Delyan Peevski [DPS], Kiril Petkov [PP], Ivaylo Mirchev [DB], and Hristo Gadjev [GERB]. It is hypothesized that the proposal stands a high chance of passing due to the significant representation of the proposing parties in parliament, some of which [GERB, PP, DB, SDS] currently extend their support to the government. 

Photo credit: Wikimedia

While such news might usually be treated as standard, a statement by Ivaylo Mirchev, an MP from DB, stirred several inquiries. Mirchev suggested that the S-300 missiles, deemed unusable by the Bulgarian military, could essentially function as spare parts for the Ukrainians. According to Mirchev’s comments, the missiles can’t be renovated or revived in Bulgaria while the Ukrainians possess the necessary capacity to utilize them.

This request has been triggered by the processes followed by the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense from September 15, 2020, to July 21, 2022, regarding the maintenance of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile complex. The Bulgarian Socialist Party [BSP] has called for the resignation of Todor Tagarev, the Defense Minister of Bulgaria. 

The donation will weaken the Bulgarian defense

The Aerospace Defense Concern, “Almaz Antey,” was the sole contender. They declared their inability to repair 5В55Р[К] type guided anti-aircraft missiles and suggested that the Bulgarian authorities direct their requests to the Russian Ministry of Defense for the right missile model—a suggestion Bulgaria has dismissed. 

Photo credit: Mediapool

The proposal’s advocates argue that these specific missiles could pose a threat to Bulgarian military personnel’s safety. Interestingly, these missiles could potentially be beneficial for Ukraine. 

MP Atanas Zafirov from the Bulgarian Socialist Party made a comment suggesting treason by the ruling majority. He claimed they were planning to ship the S-300 anti-aircraft missile complexes, a significant defense above Sofia and the nuclear plant, to Ukraine. 

“First they give away the ammunition, and then they realize that the complexes themselves are unusable,” Zafirov speculated. 

According to Zafirov, the controversial proposal features in a draft decision signed by the leaders of the three parliamentary groups backing the government. It is expected to be a topic of conversation at a crucial defense committee meeting scheduled for today. Curiously, the draft decision does not include any explanations for the need to take this drastic action, the deputy noted.

The topic Ukraine

In an extraordinary twist today, the defense committee convened an unexpected meeting focusing on the topic of ammunition provision to Ukraine. It was noted that the specifics regarding the type of provision and its justifications remained largely vague. The committee merely highlighted the ammunition to be defective, whilst Ukraine assured of its readiness to put the same to use. This intriguing revelation was shared by a member of the parliament. 

Photo credit: Reddit

The official went on to pose several pointed questions to those in power, asking, “Why is Ukraine equipped for this task and not Bulgaria?” and “Will the process eventually extend to donating anti-aircraft missile complexes?” 

Photo credit: AFP

Details of the draft decision emerged, suggesting a proposal to transfer surplus ammunition, specific to automatic small arms with a 5.56x45mm caliber – a standard for NATO, to Ukraine.

About 5B55P (K) missile

The Soviet 5В55Р[К] type guided anti-aircraft missile is a surface-to-air missile system designed to engage and destroy airborne targets, such as enemy aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs]. The missile is part of the S-300 family of air defense systems, which were widely deployed by the Soviet Union and its allies.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

The 5В55Р[К] missile operates using a semi-active radar-homing guidance system. This means that the missile relies on radar signals emitted by the missile launcher or a separate radar unit to track and guide it toward the target. The missile’s onboard guidance system receives these radar signals and adjusts its flight path accordingly to intercept the target.

In terms of technical characteristics, the 5В55Р[К] missile has a length of approximately 7.5 meters and a diameter of around 0.51 meters. It weighs around 1,500 kilograms and is powered by a solid-fuel rocket motor. The missile is equipped with a high-explosive fragmentation warhead, which is designed to detonate upon proximity to the target, maximizing the chances of destroying it.

The operational range of the 5В55Р[К] missile varies depending on the specific variant and modifications. Generally, it has a range of around 75 kilometers, allowing it to engage targets at medium to long distances. The missile’s speed can reach up to Mach 4, making it capable of intercepting fast-moving aerial threats.

Photo credit: TASS

Bulgaria’s S-300 systems

The Bulgarian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system is a highly capable system that can engage multiple targets simultaneously and has a range of up to 200 kilometers. The S-300 system is known for its advanced radar capabilities, which allow it to track and engage targets with high accuracy and effectiveness.

As of my last available information, Bulgaria has a total of 12 S-300 missile systems. These systems are deployed at various locations across the country to provide comprehensive air defense coverage. The exact locations of the systems are not publicly disclosed for security reasons.

The Bulgarian S-300 missile systems are strategically positioned to protect key military and civilian infrastructure, including airfields, industrial complexes, and population centers.

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