Read original article at 112.ua
The army of Ukraine returns six types of anti-aircraft missile systems from the "reserves" to the combat system. Thus, the number of combat-ready complexes in the composition of anti-aircraft missile forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, capable of shooting down aircraft, cruise missiles, as well as enemy drones, will increase by one third. This is my optimistic forecast, if the joint efforts of the Ministry of Defense, enterprises of Ukroboronprom, as well as private companies already deeply involved in the solution of the actual task, will be effective. Practically all types of SAMs that were withdrawn from the combat strength due to "redundancy" in the period from 2003 to 2013, get a chance to return.
Today, the defensive shield over Ukraine is held by anti-aircraft missile systems and Soviet-designed two types of complexes. These are self-propelled medium-range SAM systems: S-300PS (SA-10B Grumble) and Buk-M1 (SA-11 Gadfly). They can destroy enemy targets at maximum ranges of 75 km and 32 km and heights of up to 27 km and 22 km respectively. The number of divisions of these air defense systems is about fifty. With the training of personnel and the serviceability of all SAMs, this is quite a powerful force. But the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine decided to significantly increase the numerical composition of domestic air defense systems. This is due to the need to cover our troops in the area of contact with the enemy (both in the positional and in the active defense), as well as the need to cover the objects of the first category. Such objects, in particular, include the cities-millionaires, nuclear power plants and dams of hydroelectric power stations.
Six types of anti-aircraft missile systems can return to service at once: six short-range anti-aircraft missiles (self-propelled "Koob" (2K12) and "Tor" (9K330) and transported C-125), two medium range (S-300PT transported , a close relative of the "regular" self-propelled S-300PS) and a mobile all-purpose anti-missile and anti-aircraft defense system designed to cover the maneuverable combat actions S-300V1 (SA-12 Gladiator) and finally the long-range S-200V.
The S-200V long-range anti-aircraft missile system is a special thing. SA-5 Gammon is like the Goliath of the Cold War. It joined the service in the 1970s. The complex is stationary and seems to be getting old by today's standards. But there is a nuance: the "old-timer" possesses missiles with a powerful warhead and is capable of hitting targets at a range of 240 km and at an altitude of 300 m to 40 km. S-200V divisions are capable of destroying enemy aircraft before they reach the line from which they can use their own armament. It is also believed that the "two hundred" will not allow Ukraine’s enemy to approach its air command posts, reconnaissance planes and production aircraft of all types of interference. All this in the complex can deprive the enemy of the opportunity to effectively manage the air operation. Well, at least because it's just scary.
In 2012, we had four military units, which were armed with the S-200V SAM. Groups of S-200V divisions were stationed near Lviv, near Kyiv, as well as near Kherson and Feodosia. All of them on the final inspection of 2012 were recognized as combat-ready. But already in early 2013, by the decision of the then Defense Minister Lebedev, they were all suddenly declared obsolete. Their "reduction" took literally a month. Separate elements (for example, cables in positions, since this is a stationary complex) were simply cut with axes. At the same time, Uman anti-aircraft missile brigade (three battalions) armed with S-300V1 complexes was withdrawn from the combat structure. In the command of the Army people who supported both these decisions still serve. It's time, probably, to ask them - why?
Today, the Defense Ministry does not rule out that the "two hundred" will still frighten the Russian air command posts and pilots of aircraft. It is possible that for the resuscitation of the "two hundred" will take Pivdenne bureau. But this is unlikely to happen before the end of the year, although for the rest of the complexes it is planned to conduct test firing before the end of 2018. At least the Ministry of Defense is interested in this.
Given the amount of work required, technological limitations and rigid deadlines, this is a difficult task. There is no repair documentation for some SAMs. Therefore, in fact, it is necessary to reverse the engineering of the units, repair them or restore and ensure the intended use of the complexes. At the same time, it is not required from the enterprises of Ukroboronprom and private companies to upgrade the complexes, which they take into medium repair. Although some of the SAMs (in particular, the same S-125M Pechora) have a significant potential for building up combat capabilities. Due to the installation of new semi-active or active targeting heads on the 5V27D missiles developed by the Kyiv company Radionics, the long-range limit of the C-125M zone of damage increases in range from 18 to 40 km, in height from 18 to 25 km. In the most advanced version, it becomes possible to shell eight enemy targets simultaneously. The work of the complex regarding the launching of missiles with a semi-active head has already been tested by practice with foreign customer.
Responsibility for the entire "resuscitation package" for the extension of the rocket resource of anti-aircraft missile systems, which are currently in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as those that will be introduced in the near or medium term, with the exception of "two hundred", is entrusted to the State Kyiv design bureau "Luch" in cooperation with another Kyiv company "Vizar", also part of the Ukroboronprom.
Modernization or development of new anti-aircraft missile systems for the Armed Forces of Ukraine is the next step in strengthening the domestic air defense shield. There are projects for small, medium and long-range complexes using existing industrial and technological reserves. According to the developers, with whom I communicated, the result can be achieved within two years, and with very sane financing. The bet is made on its capabilities. But help or partnership on the part of Western companies will be necessary to acquire a modern element base with the required characteristics. But this is another, longer story.