cassad_eng (cassad_eng) wrote,

Reinforcements for DPR Air Defense

Regarding the capture of the air defense unit in Donetsk (in Russian), which in some sense provided the DPR militia with special machinery that is necessary to create sites of air defense.

Capture of this air defense unit falls into the "better late than never" category – even during the fighting for the Donetsk airport on May 28th, when the militia suffered its most heavy one-time losses (mostly due to the enemy aerial superiority), it was mentioned that it was quite strange to observe the militia driving to capture the airport without providing coverage with air-defense means, even tough this unit, which got "smacked" today, wasn't all that far away from the main direction of the militia movement toward the airport. But, for some reason, nobody bothered with its capture that time.

Now it is captured, and the air defense complexes quite relevant for the current conflict fell into militia hands, which, if they are augmented with MANPADS operators, can serve not just for tactical defense from airstrikes (as it used to be), but also as a foundation for air defense sites that will complicate operations of the junta's airplanes and helicopters, even if the sites are cobbled together hastily, which will increase the already quite high losses. Keeping the radars and the radar complexes that were earlier destroyed on the territory of the DPR and the LPR in mind, the junta gradually loses it grasp on the airspace: by the end of June, it is incapable of establishing neither systematic aerial superiority, nor suppressing tactical air defense of the militia, as the result of which the airstrikes end up being efficient only where the militia cannot organize their air defense.

Nevertheless there is a serious problem with personnel for the captured systems, because a typical volunteer cannot be appointed to be an operator of a sophisticated SAM or radar station – qualified specialists are required, which will be searched for (actually, they look for air defense system specialists since the beginning of May) both on the territory of the former Ukraine and also among the Russian volunteers. I think that in the foreseeable future the combat-ready complexes will be staffed, but this won't happen all at once.
Plus it is worth remembering about the problem of maintenance and spare parts – a significant part of equipment in these units is not operational and a lot of what is being captured from the junta won't move or shoot ever again. Nevertheless, even several air defense complexes will be a fairly worthy addition for the frankly weak air defense of the DPR.
The junta is already yelling that everything that was captured is broken beyond all repair and cannot help the militia, including at least one confirmed "Buk". I think that this is an attempt to put up a good face on a bad business.

Introducing these machines into combat, as it happened with tanks earlier, may shift the balance of forces on tactical and even on the operational level, because it complicates taking advantage of one of the junta's main trump cards that has to do with its aerial superiority. If indeed only junk remained there, then the militia will have to keep hammering at the remaining radar stations and keep saturating their battle lines with MANPANDS.

Original article: (in Russian)

Tags: air defense, aviation, ukraine, war in ukraine

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