Since the start of the special military operation (SMO), Russian air superiority over Ukraine has been unquestionable. The Kiev regime forces lost most of their aircraft on the ground as Russian long-range cruise missiles rained down, leveling airbases and destroying deployed fighter jets. This forced the Neo-Nazi junta to not only restore retired Soviet-era aircraft, but also to acquire those that previously belonged to former Warsaw Pact member states. As all of these countries are now in NATO, their fighter jets were deemed particularly important, as they were repurposed to use NATO weapons, both air-to-air and air-to-ground, including anti-radiation missiles such as the AGM-88 HARM and air-launched cruise missiles such as the Franco-British “Storm Shadow/SCALP EG”.
In order to successfully use these weapons, Ukrainian pilots are forced to fly extremely low to avoid detection by Russia’s second-to-none long-range air defenses and unrivaled air superiority fighter jets. As Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) employ monster aircraft such as the superfast, high-flying MiG-31 interceptors, state-of-the-art Su-35S and the next-generation Su-57 multirole fighter jets, the chances for Kiev regime’s air assets to survive at altitudes of over 1000 meters are virtually nonexistent. Apart from their clear advantages in technology, pilot training and logistics, Russian fighters also use air-to-air missiles that are quite literally decades ahead of not just those used by the Neo-Nazi junta, but also by its NATO overlords. However, this upper hand became even greater in recent days.
According to Russian sources, the S-400 “Triumph” SAM (surface-to-air missile) systems are now being used in coordination with the Beriev A-50/A-50U AEW&C (airborne early warning and control) aircraft to shoot down the Kiev regime’s combat jets. Apparently, the fusion of advanced sensors on both systems works so perfectly that it effectively contributed to the downing of 24 enemy aircraft in a matter of just five days. And while the conclusive data for the claims is yet to be released, there’s little to no reason to doubt the reports, as both the Neo-Nazi junta and its NATO puppet masters are in the not-so-quiet panic mode. Namely, according to Colonel Yurii Ihnat, one of the Kiev regime forces’ spokespeople, they will need approximately 150 F-16s or similar Western jets to “counter” the VKS.
This is a massive jump from earlier requests. The Neo-Nazi junta frontman Volodymyr Zelensky also made similar pleas more recently, indicating that major problems for his forces even predate the latest Russian reports. Various military sources and observers also posted videos of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu talking with servicemen who accomplished the aforementioned feats, which further reinforces the veracity of these reports. Some analysts are even adding that the greater interaction and sensor fusion of various platforms now also includes Russian fighter jets such as the Su-35S and Su-57. These are also armed with new deadly air-to-air missiles that the Kiev regime forces have quite a lot of trouble to even detect, resulting in high casualties among Ukrainian pilots.
Namely, the S-400–A-50 teams are organized in a way that allows battlefield information to be directly transmitted between the platforms so that the enemy fighter jets and/or other aircraft essentially can’t even detect the incoming missiles. Normally, hostile aircraft’s Radar Warning Receivers (RWR) simply detect they’re being tracked and/or targeted by the S-400’s sophisticated surveillance and tracking radars that emit powerful frequencies. This prevents the possibility of using the S-400’s longest-range missiles such as the 40N6E (maximum range 400 km) or the hypersonic 48N6 (depending on the variant, maximum range up to 250 km), as the enemy fighter jet is more likely to evade the incoming SAM at such extreme distances. In addition, this also exposes the S-400 to NATO spy aircraft.
Namely, NATO ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) platforms keep flying around Russian and Belarussian airspace and gathering intel on the capabilities of their air defenses and other assets. It would simply be impossible for the S-400’s tracking radar to operate in the so-called “war reserve” mode (conceals features such as pulse width which the enemy uses to analyze its radar signature) without revealing its radar-gathering frequencies, particularly while trying to engage targets at the longest possible ranges. And while this denies NATO the ability to analyze Russian air defenses and possibly devise advanced countermeasures that could undermine Moscow’s security in the long term, it was precisely because of it that the Eurasian giant was unable to use the full potential of its air defenses.
Thus, the Russian military had to find unconventional and innovative workarounds, leading to the S-400–A-50 teaming, with the latter using its advanced radars and sensors to cue the 40N6E missiles which are fired in the so-called “lock on after launch” mode. The A-50/A-50U provides guidance and targeting data that are then received in the mid-course phase and stored in the 40N6E’s navigation system. The Russian side refuses to disclose the exact information for purely practical reasons, as this could then be used to determine the location of its air defense batteries. In addition, not revealing too much info on this pairing enables the continued targeting of the Kiev regime’s aircraft at the longest possible ranges, even when they’re flying extremely low to avoid detection by Russian fighter aircraft.
However, even this is becoming a major issue now, as interceptors and air superiority jets such as the MiG-31BM, Su-30SM, Su-35S and/or Su-57 could most likely be used in similar ways. What’s more, these jets can use missiles such as the R-37M and variants of R-77 that have maximum ranges of up to 400 km and 200 km, respectively. The former is particularly dangerous as it effectively turns its launch platform into a “flying S-400”, while the latter is smaller, meaning that a fighter can carry more of them and, thus, shoot down half a squadron of enemy jets in a single sortie at ranges far beyond the reach of the Neo-Nazi junta’s air defenses. These developments only reinforce the findings of some Western military think tanks that acknowledge the performance of the VKS.
This article is republished from InfoBrics, the information portal of BRICS under content sharing agreement.