Ukraine’s counteroffensive is beginning to make some progress, leaving Russian forces scrambling to secure the frontlines.
And more and more video keeps showing the progress Kyiv is making.
How far will Ukraine go? How much territory will Kyiv regain in the coming days?
Bombs Away: New Footage Shows Ukraine ‘Destroying’ Russian Air Defense
According to the group, a Ukrainian precision strike is responsible for the attack. The 11-second video shows the air defense system right before the strike occurs. The Strela-10 erupts in a fireworks-like display after it is struck.
Introducing the Strela-10
Like many of the weapons systems Russia has turned to in its invasion, the Strela-10 short-range air defense missile system was developed in the Soviet Era. Referred to by NATO as the SA-13 “Gopher,” this highly mobile missile system is primarily used to engage low-altitude targets. Based on its predecessor, the Strela-1M, the latest variant used by Russian forces has a longer range — roughly 5,000 meters — and can hit at higher altitudes.
What About Russia’s Other SAMs?
In addition to the Strela-10, Moscow has used its S-400 mobile SAM system in this war. Given the moniker SA-21 “Growler” by NATO, the missile system can engage airframes, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles. Based on its predecessors the S-200 and S-300, the Growler’s true capabilities are more in line with advanced American-designed systems like the Patriot.
The S-400 became operational in the early 2000s and can hit aerial targets at ranges up to 250 km. In addition to using the 48N6 and 77N6 missile series, the S-400 can also launch the 40N6. As detailed by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, this is a “long range family that can extend the air defense capabilities of the system to 400 km. The current deployment status of the 40N6 missile is unclear, and questions remain as to whether the S-400’s radar capabilities would allow the 40N6 to make full use of its maximum range.”
Moscow is also reportedly close to completing the S-500, the Growler’s successor. Touted by the Kremlin as the most advanced system of its kind, the S-500 is reportedly able to take out leading fifth-generation airframes like the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II. However, the S-500’s true capabilities and specs are difficult to verify, and the Kremlin has a reputation for exaggerating the lethality of its weapons.
Although Kyiv received at least two American Patriot systems this spring — one each from the U.S. and Germany — Ukrainian officials are requesting additional defenses in order to thwart Russia’s frequent missile attacks. The Soviet-era air defenses Ukraine currently deploys can’t strike high and medium-altitude airframes like the Patriot can, making it particularly important for Kyiv to procure more.
It remains a question whether the many munitions, anti-tank weapons, armored vehicles, and other military aid sent by the West will be enough to bring Ukraine’s counteroffensive across the finish line.
— ???????? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) July 30, 2023
Maya Carlin, a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel. You can follow her on Twitter: @MayaCarlin.