Four ATACMS missiles were intercepted by air defense, Russia says

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On October 28, the Russian Ministry of Defense revealed a successful interception of 4 ATACMS missiles, 2 JDAM bombs, 3 HARM missiles, and 8 HIMARS projectiles, while also eliminating 36 drones operated by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The state news agency TASS broadcasted this official communication. 

Photo credit: AFP

The ministry’s statement elaborated, “We successfully engaged and intercepted four operational-tactical ATACMS missiles, two JDAM guided munitions, three HARM anti-radar missiles, and eight projectiles from the American-originated HIMARS multiple launch missile systems.” 

Furthermore, Ukrainian drone activity was neutralized in the regions encompassing the Proletarka and Sagi settlements in the Kherson Region, Valerianovka, Veseloe, Spornoye in the Donetsk People’s Republic, Verkhnekamenka in the Luhansk People’s Republic, and Tokmak in the Zaporizhzhia Region with the destruction of 36 unmanned aircraft.

Photo credit: Mediapool

The AGM-88 HARM role

The AGM-88 HARM [High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile] plays a crucial role when used in a joint operation with ATACMS [Army Tactical Missile System] or HIMARS [High Mobility Artillery Rocket System] missiles.

The primary function of the AGM-88 HARM is to suppress or destroy enemy air defense systems that emit radar signals. These systems, such as surface-to-air missile launchers or radar-guided anti-aircraft artillery, pose a significant threat to friendly aircraft.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

By neutralizing or disabling these radar systems, the AGM-88 HARM helps create a safer environment for the ATACMS or HIMARS missiles to operate effectively and reach their intended targets.

In a joint operation, the AGM-88 HARM can be launched from an aircraft, to engage and destroy enemy radar systems. Once the AGM-88 HARM is launched, it uses its onboard sensors to detect and track the radar emissions from the enemy air defense systems.

It then homes in on the source of the emissions and delivers a high-explosive warhead to neutralize the threat. By eliminating or disabling enemy radar systems, the AGM-88 HARM helps to degrade the enemy’s ability to detect and engage friendly aircraft or missiles, allowing the ATACMS or HIMARS missiles to operate with reduced risk of being targeted or intercepted.

Photo credit: MoD Ukraine

When used in conjunction with ATACMS or HIMARS missiles, the AGM-88 HARM provides a valuable capability to suppress or destroy enemy air defense systems, which can enhance the effectiveness and survivability of the joint operation.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

The ATACMS is a surface-to-surface missile system that can engage targets at long ranges, including enemy air defense systems. By neutralizing or suppressing these systems with the AGM-88 HARM, the ATACMS can operate with reduced risk of being detected or engaged by enemy air defenses, increasing its chances of successfully hitting its intended targets.

Similarly, the HIMARS is a highly mobile rocket system that can launch various types of missiles, including those designed for precision strikes against enemy targets. By utilizing the AGM-88 HARM in a joint operation, the HIMARS gains an additional layer of protection against enemy air defense systems.

The AGM-88 HARM can help suppress or destroy radar systems that could potentially track and engage the HIMARS missiles, allowing them to operate with greater freedom and reducing the risk of interception or destruction.

Photo credit: Naval Technology

Russia is looking for the bearers of HARM

According to Russian military strategists, the most significant threat to their positions in Ukraine does not stem from the ATACMS missiles, but from the AGM-88 HARM. By eliminating these missiles promptly, Russian air defenses will find it simpler to detect the slower-moving ATACMS. Thus, Moscow views the neutralization of the HARM carriers as a priority. 

Illustrating this priority, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced on October 20 that coordinated efforts from combatants and air defense units led to seven Ukrainian MiG-29 aircraft being incapacitated by the Russian forces. The briefing further mentioned that 12 adversarial aircraft—comprising 10 MiG-29s, two Su-25 attack planes, and two Mi-8 helicopters—had been disabled during the previous week. 

Video screenshot

As Military expert Alexei Leonkov explains to Izvestia, this success is largely due to the synergized operations of air reconnaissance and the effective regulation of the airspace control system. 

“Frequent provocations and assaults on our fighters were carried out by these aircraft, utilizing AGM-88 missiles and decoys to mask Storm Shadow’s operations,” emphasizes Leonkov. “It became imperative, as a result, to incapacitate these carrier aircraft.” 

Notably, Izvestia cites Russian military tacticians observing that the urgency in the West to transfer Swedish F-16, Eurofighter, and Gripen to Ukraine can be understood in the context of Ukraine’s significant reduction in aviation assets. Leonkov sheds light on this, stating, “All the aircraft in use by the Air Force were obtained globally, with the United States and their allies supervising their assembly.”

Photo credit: Ukrainian MoD

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

On the 21st of February, 2022, allegations emerged from Russia, asserting that a border facility under the jurisdiction of their Federal Security Service [FSB] had been decimated due to an aggressive shelling operation purportedly executed by Ukrainian forces. According to the Russian authorities, this unexpected and violent incursion resulted in the unfortunate demise of five Ukrainian combatants.

Ukraine, however, vehemently repudiated involvement in both occurrences, categorizing them as nothing more than deceptive maneuvers, or ‘false flags’.

In a significant development on the very day, the Russian government extended formal recognition to the self-proclaimed entities of DPR and LPR. This recognition, as per Putin, was not confined merely to the territories under their de-facto control, but encompassed the entire Ukrainian Oblasts. In an ensuing move, Putin commanded the mobilization of Russian military forces, inclusive of tanks, into the said regions.

Photo credit: Twitter

Aggressive invasion

In a significant geopolitical development on the 24th of February, 2022, President Vladimir Putin of Russia commanded an aggressive military invasion into Ukraine. This act of aggression was executed by Russia’s formidable Armed Forces, which had been strategically amassed along the Ukrainian border in a show of ominous intent. 

This invasion was not a random act of violence, but a meticulously planned operation, characterized by precise airstrikes that targeted key military infrastructures within the Ukrainian territory. Concurrently, an armored division of tanks rolled in from the Belarusian frontier, further intensifying the scale and impact of the offensive.

Photo credit: MWM

The Russian administration thus far has refrained from acknowledging the ongoing incursion into Ukraine as a “war”. This, despite the fact that the unfolding events bear all the hallmarks of a military conflict. Instead, the Kremlin insists on terming it a “special military operation”.

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