Ukraine likely destroyed fifteen batteries of Russia’s prized S-400 missile systems worth $20.5 billion, weakening its air defenses, says UK intel.
Ukraine has destroyed fifteen units of Russian long-range air defense systems since the beginning of the war, the UK MoD said.
It suggests Russia’s Integrated Air Defence System can’t cope with hi-tech precision strike weapons. Confirmed reports said that Ukraine used US-provided ATACMS to strike at the Russian systems.
Ukraine has likely destroyed at least four Russian long-range air defense systems in the last week, weakening Russia’s air defenses, the UK Department of Defense said in an intelligence update on Thursday.
These include three prized S-400 Triumf missile systems, which were destroyed in the Luhansk region on October 26, according to Russian media reports.
The loss of these prized systems means that Russia will likely have to replace them from other operational areas, weakening its air defenses there, the ministry noted.
Russia’s S-400 long-range surface-to-air system is designed to shoot down aircraft and missiles at long ranges and high altitudes. It includes truck-mounted radars, a mobile command post, and multiple missile launch platforms.
Additional Russian air defense losses have been reported in Crimea by Ukrainian sources.
The destruction of these systems means that Russia’s Integrated Air Defence System is struggling against modern precision strike weapons, per the ministry.
Russia has long prioritized its surface-to-air-missile systems as a “key component” of its military strategy, the UK ministry noted.
It is not clear what weapons Ukraine used to strike the S-400s, but a Russian Telegram channel claimed they used the long-range Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS).
The US sent Ukraine around 20 of the much-coveted weapons in mid-October, and Ukraine confirmed their first use on October 17 in a spectacular attack on two Russian airfields, destroying 14 helicopters.
The detached engines of two ATACMS were photographed in Luhansk, supporting the idea that they were used to strike Russia’s S-400s, Forbes reported, citing social media reports.
Ukraine also has the long-range Storm Shadow from the UK and SCALP-EG from France in its arsenal for such strikes.
The S-400 was built to rival the $1.1 billion US-made Patriot air defense system but at a lower price. Much vaunted as technologically superior to the Patriot system, it was priced at $600 million for the domestic market, according to reports, to lure international buyers costing $900 million per battery.
Turkey, China and India purchased several batteries with S-400 missile systems costing $2.5 billion, $2 billion and $5.4 billion respectively.
Turkish S-400 acquisition provoked the US to revoke the NATO ally’s access to the F-35 stealth fighter program, Global Defense Corp reported.
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