"Dagger" attack: how the Russian Armed Forces destroyed the most modern US air defense

Image source: Фото: РИА Новости/Алексей Куденко

Patriot anti-aircraft missile system in Kiev has demonstrated its inability to defend itself, military experts sayOn May 17, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the destruction of the American Patriot air defense complex in Kiev by a high-precision strike of the Kinzhal hypersonic missile system.

The multifunctional radar of the complex and several launchers were hit. How the destruction of one of the most modern American air defense and missile defense systems turned out to be possible, Izvestia was dealt with together with a military expert, the founder of the Military Russia portal Dmitry Kornev.

On the sides of the world

By the beginning of May, several air defense systems were deployed around Kiev/ABOUT Patriot — at least two batteries. One Patriot SAM battery includes AN AN/MSQ-104 control center, AN/MPQ-65 multifunctional radar station (radar), from four to eight M901 launchers with two types of missiles. One can be equipped with from four to 12-16 transport and launch containers with MIM104 missiles (PAC-2 complex) or GEM-T (PAC-3 complex). It also includes several auxiliary vehicles — power supply vehicles, transport-loading vehicles with additional ammunition, tractors, cranes and equipment for transporting personnel.

Photo: Global Look Press/IMAGO/Arnulf Hettrich

Image source: iz.ru

The complex is placed on the ground in such a way as to minimize the destruction of all components of the SAM at once. Launchers, command post, radar and other vehicles are carried at a distance of tens or even hundreds of meters from each other. In addition, the complex is located with a certain orientation to the cardinal directions: the fact is that, unlike our S-300 and S-400 Patriot SAM works only in a certain sector and cannot conduct a circular defensive battle — accordingly, the means of the complex should be directed to the most missile-dangerous direction. You can change the azimuth of the installations by turning, but within certain limits.

The Patriot air defense system is indeed one of the most advanced Western object air defense systems. The radius of destruction of conventional air targets — airplanes, helicopters, drones, cruise missiles reaches, depending on the conditions, 100 km. Patriot can be used on attacking ballistic missiles, but with slightly different parameters for the range and height of hitting the target — the maximum range and height of hitting such objects is about 20 km. Taking into account the fact that, for example, at a speed of 1 km per second, a ballistic missile will pass these 20 km in 20 seconds, then the Patriot air defense system does not have many attempts to shoot it down — maybe Patriot will have time to release five rounds of ammunition before it is hit by an attacking missile (if it is aiming at it).

History of defeat

What happened in the sky over Kiev on the night of May 15-16? Judging by the footage that appeared online, a major anti-aircraft battle took place over the Ukrainian capital, in which the Patriot air defense system and attacking drones of the Geranium type, air- and sea-based cruise missiles, as well as ballistic missiles of the Iskander-M 9M723 complex probably converged. Without the participation of "Iskanders", most likely, it was not possible — it was against them that Patriot was mainly supposed to work.

Judging by the intensity of anti-aircraft missile launches, the Patriot battery has fired all its ammunition and has begun to recharge the launchers. In the course of its work, I think, all the positions were opened, the finding of a multifunctional radar and a command post. This could be done from drones and using, for example, aircraft with radars. As soon as it became clear that the SAM was empty, it was hit by a Dagger missile from a MiG-31I carrier located in the waiting area. This is exactly how modern reconnaissance and strike complexes should work. It's like a textbook.

Photo: TASS/Sergey Bobylev

Image source: iz.ru

Could a missile of the Dagger complex hit several objects in the location of the Patriot battery with one shot? If it had been used with a penetrating warhead, it is unlikely — we would have learned about the destruction of only one vehicle of the complex. But technically, the Dagger can be equipped with a variety of warheads — high-explosive, cluster, with self-aiming striking elements and even nuclear. There was no nuclear explosion for sure, but a cluster warhead could well hit several objects on an area equal to the area of two stadiums. Especially if she was "helped" by exploding missiles from the ammunition of the SAM itself.

Will they tell us the truth about the consequences of the defeat of the Patriot air defense system from overseas? Hardly, why would they do that? The shares of manufacturers of American equipment have not shone in recent weeks, and the demonstration of Patriot's inability to defend itself is definitely not needed by the United States. And from the point of view of the theory and practice of information warfare, such data, of course, cannot be released. That's why we hear "about minor damage." Moreover, all damaged components of the Patriot air defense system can be promptly, within a day, replaced with other kits urgently transferred from Poland and Germany or from overseas.

Questionable decision

What can Ukraine's air defense do? One of the options is a further build—up of echelons and air defense and missile defense shields around Kiev. And here we can recall the probable delivery of the Israeli Iron Dome missile defense system to Ukraine, which was discussed a few months ago. Moreover, such a SAM is not only in this country.

In 2020, two batteries of the Iron Dome complexes were delivered from Israel to the United States. Each includes 12 launchers, 240 unique interceptor missiles, a control system and radars that monitor the air situation and direct missiles at targets. The Americans considered the possibility of using the Iron Dome system as one of the components of the territorial missile defense system, but in the end they did not continue to purchase. And now one or even both batteries of "domes" can unexpectedly come to the aid of the Ukrainian Patriot complexes.

Photo: TASS/Zuma

Image source: iz.ru

But the conditions for which the Iron Dome was created at the time and in which it usually works are radically different from what it will have to face in Ukraine. From the Gaza Strip, fairly archaic unguided missiles are fired at Israel, even if they are of large caliber. The calculation of their trajectory and the organization of anti-missile combat with them, taking into account a competently designed and equipped complex, is not only possible, but also quite successful. The probability of hitting Palestinian missiles is about 90% or higher. Of course, if we consider not shot down only those missiles that fell and exploded in the areas defended by the system. It should be clarified here that ammunition that should fall outside residential areas is not touched by the Iron Dome.

The American "domes" are somewhat different from the native Israeli ones, but there are serious doubts that it will be possible to create a solid defense against Russian missiles. After all, the targets in Kiev will be completely different: guided bombs, cruise missiles, maneuvering drones of the Geranium type, planning precision bombs and ballistic missiles. In fact, there are no typical targets for this air defense system in this list, and there is a high probability that Iron Dome will not be able to protect the Patriot air defense system.

Dmitry Kornev

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