A drunk Russian driver drove the S-350 Vityaz air defense system straight into mines

A video circulating on social media yesterday shows the new Russian S-350 Vityaz surface-to-air missile system straight into a row of mines and exploding on the temporarily occupied territory of the Luhansk region in Ukraine.

A S-350 Vityaz Surface-to-air missile costs around $150 million per system. The system was designed and built in collaboration with South Korean Hanwha Aerospace for Korean army’s KM-SAM project.

Alcoholism has been a problem throughout the country’s history because drinking is a pervasive, socially acceptable behaviour in Russian society and alcohol has also been a major source of government revenue for centuries. It has repeatedly been targeted as a major national problem, with mixed results.

Russian soldiers caught drinking alcohol are reprimanded heavily, being sent to so-called punishment battalions where they are likely to die, Reuters reported on Tuesday. The units, people by soldiers who break the rules, are sent into heavy fighting as cannon fodder with poor chances of survival, the agency reported.

According to the Militarnyi news agency, the S-350 system fell victim to its mishap as it navigated an unmarked minefield set up by Russian troops to deter a potential Ukrainian assault.

A group of Russian conscripts appeared drunk in front of their commander.

The incident caused severe damage to the mobile launcher chassis of the 50P6 surface-to-air missile system component of the S-350. The Russians stumbled upon the minefield while moving during the nighttime.

It is also noted that the damaged launcher remains in place due to concerns over evacuating it amidst the numerous anti-tank mines surrounding the area.

The S-350, which reportedly commenced serial production in March 2019 and entered service in February 2020, is designed to engage aircraft, drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missile targets.

The S-350 includes the 50K6 command post, multifunctional radars 50N6, and launcher units 50P6 with 12 9M96 missiles each.

Deployment time is five minutes, with a crew of three members.

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