"Russia Made It Stronger": Who Foiled Kiev Military Plans

news 27-Jun-2023 World News

"Russia Made It Stronger": Who Foiled Kiev's Military Plans

The Ukrainian offensive has stalled. According to Western analysts, one type of Russian weaponry has become a problem for the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). And most likely, NATO countries won't be able to help in this regard.

"From five to seven in one night"

Experts believe that the AFU's armored vehicles are primarily being destroyed by mines, shells, and combat helicopters. The Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) have two main attack helicopters - the Mi-28N and Ka-52. They complement each other and often operate in pairs.

Counting on the optics of Western tanks, Ukrainian troops attempted to advance at night. However, it was futile as the reconnaissance and target acquisition capabilities of the Ka-52 and Mi-28N allow them to engage targets even in low-light conditions.

According to the Ministry of Defense, "during a single sortie, two helicopters destroyed from five to seven tanks and armored objects."

Western analysts particularly highlight the "Ka-52" helicopter. The "Alligator" has taken on the main burden on the battlefield. The significant losses suffered by the Ka-52 during the conflict are pointed out by The Drive. However, in June, none of these helicopters were shot down.

Specialists believe that it is very challenging for the AFU to counter this threat.

The West has nothing to offer in assistance

Mobile short-range air defense systems are needed for an offensive. The Kiev regime possesses Soviet-made "Strela-10" SAMs (range up to five thousand meters) and the missile-gun complex "Tunguska" (up to eight kilometers). However, their numbers are limited.

Among Western options, the American self-propelled short-range air defense systems AN/TWQ-1 Avenger (20 units delivered) and the German Gepard (52 units) are the most suitable.

"These are powerful systems, and importantly, very mobile. However, there are currently too few of them," notes The Drive. "Moreover, they are crucial for point defense of key cities and infrastructure deep within Ukraine."

Neither the Avengers nor the Gepards have heavy armor, which is a disadvantage during an offensive. Additionally, they are ineffective against low-flying "Alligators" and "Night Hunters" that operate at the limit of their range.

There are also portable Stinger air defense systems, of which a considerable number have been brought in. However, their range (up to eight kilometers) may also be insufficient. Using them at night is also challenging.

There are simply no Western equivalents to the Soviet armored SAMs. In NATO doctrine, aviation should provide air defense during an offensive. However, the promised F-16s are delayed.

"Inaccessible": The Russian Attack Helicopters' Main Weaponry

The US Army once had a suitable frontline armored system called the M6 Linebacker, a missile launcher with Stingers based on the Bradley. However, it was removed from service in 2006.

Other Western air defense systems are only suitable for protecting stationary objects.

The main weapon of Russian attack helicopters is the anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). The Ka-52 has two main variants of ATGMs. The "Ataka-1" complex has a range of six kilometers, while the "Vikhr-1" can hit targets at a distance of up to ten kilometers. Both systems are guided by laser beams.

According to Israeli expert Guy Plopsky's calculations based on videos released by the Russian Ministry of Defense, Ukrainian vehicles are being hit from a distance of eight kilometers. The entire engagement takes 23-25 seconds, with the target illuminated by a laser beam.

"The Russians are now much better at suppressing and destroying air defense assets on the tactical depth," notes the analyst. "It is dangerous for Ukrainian radar-guided SAMs to be near the front line, especially for an extended period."

The Drive describes the Russian tactics. Initially, the Russian Aerospace Forces employ bombs with a Unified Module for Planning and Correction (UMPK). This poses a dilemma for Ukrainian air defense: whether to allow the glide bomb to reach its target or to shoot it down, thereby revealing their position. If the SAMs activate their radars, they become vulnerable to barrages of ammunition (such as the "Lancet") or attacks from drones.

Meanwhile, the Mi-28NM is already launching the latest lightweight multipurpose guided missile (LMUR) with a range of 14.5 kilometers.

Commenting on the video, The Drive notes that the helicopter did not perform the usual maneuver of descending to low altitude and deploying heat decoys after launching the missile. This indicates that the missile was launched from a safe distance.

The same armament will be installed on the Ka-52M. Upgraded helicopters have already been delivered to the troops, but they have not been spotted in the conflict zone yet.

With a severed tail

Another advantage of the Ka-52 is its survivability. The coaxial rotor scheme invented by Nikolai Kamov has proven itself. At the end of June, a video was released showing a helicopter returning from a combat sortie with a severely damaged tail. The aircraft safely made it back to base.

Other helicopters have a tail rotor, and if it is hit, the chances of survival decrease dramatically. It should be noted that this is the only video evidence of Ukrainian air defense effectively operating during the offensive.

Experts also highlight the effectiveness of the L-370 "Vitebsk" onboard defense complex (BKO), known as the "life eggs" in military jargon. The system detects the launch and approach of air defense missiles to the helicopter. The helicopter's automation and pilots take measures to evade the threat.

The Ka-52 and some Mi-28 helicopters are equipped with "Vitebsk," but not all of them. Therefore, during combat missions, helicopters without this system may be accompanied by a helicopter with BKO.

According to Western analysts, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will likely find a way to counter the attack helicopters. However, it may take a considerable amount of time.

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