Earlier this year, Russian state media outlets boasted that its forces had taken out a Ukrainian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system in the Donetsk region.
According to TASS news, the weapon was struck as part of Russia’s “special military operation” in the country.
Since Kyiv launched its counteroffensive this summer, the Kremlin has claimed a number of victories against Ukrainian forces on the frontlines. However, footage from the battlefield indicates Russia may not be doing as well as its government-controlled media claims.
Russian S-300V4 Targeted in Video
The open-source intelligence group Ukraine Weapons Tracker published a video showing a Ukrainian strike last week. According to the Twitter handle @UAWeapons, a Russian S-300v4 air defense battery was among the targets of a Ukrainian attack in the south.
Referred to as the SA-10 Gamble by NATO, this long-range surface-to-air missile system has played a sizable role in the war. Although the S-300 system was developed years ago by the Soviet Union, it remains one of the most potent anti-aircraft missile systems available.
Since entering service, the S-300 has been exported to roughly two dozen nations. In addition to former Eastern Bloc countries, China, Iran, Greece, and Bulgaria all possess the anti-aircraft missile device.
Designed to take out unmanned aerial vehicles as well as to engage aircraft, the Soviet-era family of systems was conceptualized in the 1960s by the Almaz Central Design Bureau. Over the years, newer and more modern S-300 variants have emerged, all featuring different missiles, enhanced radars, and longer ranges.
As detailed by CSIS, the S-300 family of systems can be divided into three primary sub-variants: the S-300P, S-300V, and S-300F.
“The S-300V, also known as the SA-23a Gladiator and the SA-23b Giant, was developed to add a ballistic missile defense capability to the S-300P system,” according to CSIS, which adds that the system’s long range also “allows Russia to extend an anti-access, area-denial (A2AD) zone across much of central Europe, allowing Russia to target aircraft well inside NATO territory.”
Both Kyiv and Moscow utilize S-300 launchers. Prior to the outbreak of the invasion, Ukraine reportedly had around 100 of these devices, while Russia possessed more than three times that amount. The S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name Growler) is the latest iteration of the family of SAMS.
#Ukraine: A rare Russian S-300V4 air defense battery was targeted by Ukrainian forces in the South- as a result a 9A83M2 TELAR and 9A84-2 TEL were destroyed by GMLRS strikes, along with 9S32M1 and 9S19M2 radars suffering damage. pic.twitter.com/qQZ8pjt9hU
— ???????? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) August 15, 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.