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War in Ukraine, technical and military aspects only


bojan

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So it does not get polluted by all crap posted in Kiev thread

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14 minutes ago, bojan said:

So it does not get polluted by all crap posted in Kiev thread

Thank you!

Let's start with a technical aspect right away:

How exactly would an incident like the S-300 landing in Poland actually happen? Is there supposed to be some sort of auto-self destruct that should kick in if the command guidance link fails?

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I can not say for sure for S-300, but SA-3 and SA-6 had self destruct in case of the lost guidance signal from FC radar (SA-3) or lost lock by the missile (SA-6). In case of "no signal" for more than 3 or 4seconds (SA-6/SA-3) missile should lock all controls in neutral and self destruct after something like 8 seconds. If the missile is climbing at the moment of the signal loss it is fine, it will SD somewhere high in skies. Climbing is a reasonable expectation in most, but not all cases, since every missile since SA-3 can dive in terminal phase in one of the modes of engagement, in which case 3+8 seconds might not be enough to initiate SD before hitting a ground. That is also how it works in the case of missing target.

IOW, like all fail safes, it sometimes fails in less than safe manner and there was more than one AD missile that had to be dug out from the field in 1999. IIRC one SA-6 even managed to fly to Bulgaria and land few kms from the border. Then there was Syrian SA-5 that fell on Cyprus...

If the mode is same for S-300 (in Ukrainian service, since various S-300 versions have various modes and guidance systems....) it was either shooting at something low with missile diving in terminal phase of flight (reasonable expectation for cruise missile engagement) and 3+8 seconds were not enough to initiate SD, or SD failed and missile flew ballistic trajectory until it fell down.

Edited by bojan
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52 minutes ago, Der Zeitgeist said:

Thank you!

Let's start with a technical aspect right away:

How exactly would an incident like the S-300 landing in Poland actually happen? Is there supposed to be some sort of auto-self destruct that should kick in if the command guidance link fails?

Actually it strongly depends on if it were two missiles (as originally claimed) or one. If two, it is definitely wrong guidance signal. If one, faulty missile is an option.

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I think that it's typical for SAMs to have a self destruct mechanism as described by bojan earlier, although the triggering conditions and method of destruction may vary quite a bit, with warhead detonation being a common approach but not necessarily used in all possible cases.

Datalinked missiles can be expected to have both autonomous and command abort modes, whereas non-datalinked missiles will obviously only have an autonomous system. Autonomous modes might include loss of signal (as described above), failure to detect target within a defined volume (for active homing missiles and probably also lack of fusing after the predicted engagement) and maybe others, like expected entry into a forbidden volume (you know, like a country you're not at war with, maybe!)

Commanded abort modes are more usually intended for range safety during trial firings in my experience, but are likely also available operationally. I suppose you could argue that a deliberate shutdown of a tracker for a semi-active homing missile might be considered a commanded abort as well, but that's stretching things a bit.

Obviously this will all depend on the requirements imposed on the system and what was actually implemented.

Aborts are not really particularly effective at removing risk. For large missiles, down-range debris can still be a significant threat, as can low altitude detonation of a warhead in the more general case.

Two missiles launched at a single target could fail for the same reason, as a system failure could result in both losing signal, or chasing a phantom track, or any number of other things that would require a deeper knowledge of the system than I have to speculate upon. (Some systems allow for two launches against a single target to use a single tracker, for example.)

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SAMs have a self destruct. They are usually meant to protect valuable targets, so you would not want warheads to hit the installations they are protecting. But those missiles are old and the probability for failures increases.

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So can anyone help me out with the logistical situation of the Russians in the south? A friend sent the below link (I am NOT a fan of Zeihan and neither is he) where he claims that the log train is using trucks - but my understanding is that rail service over the Kerch still is functional over one of the lines and that trains are still used as far out as Mariupol for logistics. As such I don't see the southern forces under any imminent threat, though I would note that the train line that crosses the isthmus of Crimea is probably now in HIMARS range. The Eastern branch that goes to Meritopol I think would be out of range, though the bridge that crosses the shallows of the Azov must be a prime target as well. Any truck traffic I assume just comes down the coastal highway from the direction of Rostov on Don and bypasses Crimea completely.

Any thoughts or information on this? Here's the link; let me say explicitly I disagree with his conclusion:
 

 

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Just a point of clarification - were there two missiles in the end? I know that initial reports were of two missiles but subsequently there has largely been talk just of one.

Also, is it not possible that the self-destruct mechanism simply failed? Or that it was removed (not that I can think why removing it would be useful)?

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I believe some questions to ask are what were the Russians trying to hit. What were the Ukrainians trying to protect within range. Did the S-300 overfly a cruise missile trying to shut down a coal mine in Chervonohrad, Ukr? What else is in that city or surrounding cities?

If a S-300, located east of Chervonohrad, was protecting Lviv from missiles coming from Belarus. That would have energy and trajectory to hit Przewodów.

Edited by AETiglathPZ
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Russia flew €140m in cash and captured Western weapons to Iran in return for deadly drones, source claims

A Russian military aircraft secretly transported the cash and three models of munition - a British NLAW anti-tank missile, a US Javelin anti-tank missile and a Stinger anti-aircraft missile - to an airport in Tehran in August, the source told Sky News.

https://news.sky.com/story/russia-gave-eur140m-and-captured-western-weapons-to-iran-in-return-for-deadly-drones-source-claims-12741742

Quite expensive considering Shahed-136 are low cost UAVs and have a small engine. Perhaps information is wrong or there are other things in the contract - setting up production in Russia for example.

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4 minutes ago, ink said:

...Or that it was removed...

It would require extensive modifications to the missile "brainbox".

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21 minutes ago, DB said:

...Two missiles launched at a single target could fail for the same reason, as a system failure could result in both losing signal, or chasing a phantom track...

1st one is unlikely, since then SD sequence should be initiated by missiles, and then you have way less likely coincidence of both failing to SD.

Second one might be likely, especially if radar was not in the greatest condition and there were "ghosts" (remains of what "permanent signals eraser" should remove, but it is most often first thing to go down in radars).

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8 minutes ago, Josh said:

So can anyone help me out with the logistical situation of the Russians in the south? A friend sent the below link (I am NOT a fan of Zeihan and neither is he) where he claims that the log train is using trucks - but my understanding is that rail service over the Kerch still is functional over one of the lines and that trains are still used as far out as Mariupol for logistics. As such I don't see the southern forces under any imminent threat, though I would note that the train line that crosses the isthmus of Crimea is probably now in HIMARS range. The Eastern branch that goes to Meritopol I think would be out of range, though the bridge that crosses the shallows of the Azov must be a prime target as well. Any truck traffic I assume just comes down the coastal highway from the direction of Rostov on Don and bypasses Crimea completely.

Any thoughts or information on this? Here's the link; let me say explicitly I disagree with his conclusion:

As I understand only light trains are being used on the bridge, but there is also a ferry service. Russians have also restored a road that connected Crimea to Kherson, but it did not get much attention.

The Russian occupiers restored the road between Crimea and the Kherson region through the Arabatskaya Strelka spit on the coast of the Sea of Azov, thereby shortening the route from the occupied Crimea to the Kherson region, and subsequently to the Donetsk region, by approximately 120 km, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine  

https://zn.ua/ukr/UKRAINE/okupanti-vidnovili-dorohu-v-krim-cherez-arabatsku-strilku

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5 minutes ago, alejandro_ said:

Quite expensive considering Shahed-136 are low cost UAVs and have a small engine. Perhaps information is wrong or there are other things in the contract - setting up production in Russia for example.

Some Russian sources were also saying that contract cost is not cheap, but

1) Russia is not short of money, our problem is bureaucracy - but in this case it seems like it was overruled by top-level decision;

2) If we compare the cost with the cost of "adult" cruise missile that will do the same job - even relatively high cost for Shahed-136 is not so high, and they come in addition to existing production of cruise missiles, not instead of them, so more targets could be addressed, plus some put in stock for further use.

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16 minutes ago, Josh said:

..A friend sent the below link...

I said it before, unlike post-factum analysis that can be done to a degree even with relatively limited amount of data any attempts to estimate what will happen in the future are basically lucky guesses. Ukrainian and Russian stuff don't know that for sure, and we (and most youtubers/twatters etc) don't have even 1% of the data they do.

So I avoid anyone trying to estimate what will happen in future, the more distant future and more certain they sound is more reasons for avoidance. :)

Edited by bojan
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29 minutes ago, bojan said:

I said it before, unlike post-factum analysis that can be done to a degree even with relatively limited amount of data any attempts to estimate what will happen in the future are basically lucky guesses. Ukrainian and Russian stuff don't know that for sure, and we (and most youtubers/twatters etc) don't have even 1% of the data they do.

So I avoid anyone trying to estimate what will happen in future, the more distant future and more certain they sound is more reasons for avoidance. :)

I'm less about predicting the future or believing/refuting that link and more trying to establish what the current logistical situation is, but of course the details of that aren't going to be open source either. I'm mostly looking for context for the next move either side makes.

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The Croatian Ministry of Defense wants to transfer to Ukraine 14 Mi-8 and Mi-8 MTV helicopters, but the final decision must be made by the government of the country.

They emphasize that the transfer of Mi-8 helicopters will not affect Croatia's capabilities, since in addition to 14 Mi-8 the country still has 10 transport Mi-171 (export designation Mi-8AMT), which underwent major repairs in 2019.

https://ukranews.com/en/news/895527-croatia-to-give-ukraine-14-mi-8-helicopters

Apparently Mi-8s and Mi-24s were obatined in shady deals and did not have full documentation. Before 2014 they were repaired in Sevastopol. Can you comment on this Bojan?

This probably needs confirmation:
 


 

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1 hour ago, alejandro_ said:

The Croatian Ministry of Defense wants to transfer to Ukraine 14 Mi-8 and Mi-8 MTV helicopters, but the final decision must be made by the government of the country.

They emphasize that the transfer of Mi-8 helicopters will not affect Croatia's capabilities, since in addition to 14 Mi-8 the country still has 10 transport Mi-171 (export designation Mi-8AMT), which underwent major repairs in 2019.

https://ukranews.com/en/news/895527-croatia-to-give-ukraine-14-mi-8-helicopters

Apparently Mi-8s and Mi-24s were obatined in shady deals and did not have full documentation. Before 2014 they were repaired in Sevastopol. Can you comment on this Bojan?

This probably needs confirmation:
 


 

No idea about specific brands/models of helmets and vests, but the fact of at lrast some mobilized soldiers getting Iranian gear is well known here in Russia. Article with photos Вот и иранские средства индивидуальной бронезащиты стали у нас появляться.. - Юрий Лямин — ЖЖ (livejournal.com)

 

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16 hours ago, Josh said:

So can anyone help me out with the logistical situation of the Russians in the south? A friend sent the below link (I am NOT a fan of Zeihan and neither is he) where he claims that the log train is using trucks - but my understanding is that rail service over the Kerch still is functional over one of the lines and that trains are still used as far out as Mariupol for logistics. As such I don't see the southern forces under any imminent threat, though I would note that the train line that crosses the isthmus of Crimea is probably now in HIMARS range. The Eastern branch that goes to Meritopol I think would be out of range, though the bridge that crosses the shallows of the Azov must be a prime target as well. Any truck traffic I assume just comes down the coastal highway from the direction of Rostov on Don and bypasses Crimea completely.

Any thoughts or information on this? Here's the link; let me say explicitly I disagree with his conclusion:
 

 

This doesn't make sense, the destruction of the bridge can bring in some logistical difficulties, but, should push come to shove, sea supply is available from Novorossisk to Sevastopol.

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1 hour ago, RETAC21 said:

This doesn't make sense, the destruction of the bridge can bring in some logistical difficulties, but, should push come to shove, sea supply is available from Novorossisk to Sevastopol.

That means you have the ships and handling resources in the harbours.

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19 hours ago, Der Zeitgeist said:

...How exactly would an incident like the S-300 landing in Poland actually happen? Is there supposed to be some sort of auto-self destruct that should kick in if the command guidance link fails?

To add more to what I have posted above:

With 5V55 missile of the S-300P series AD systems it is same 3+8 seconds as with SA-6. However, unlike with SA-6, in case of loss of lock for more than 3 seconds missile's autopilot will give command "nose maximum up" and then "lock controls in neutral" in order to prevent missile hitting ground before it self destructs..

Missiles when old most often fail (excluding rocket motor failures due the fuel block cracking) due the battery or gas generator failure. In first case battery (either dry/wet type or thermal one, both inactive in storage and activated in preparation for launch) will usually work, but will not work long enough due the degradation of the chemical mixture, in which case there will be loss of power at missile and subsequent loss of lock. In case of gas-generator failure (gas generator uses same fuel type as main rocket engine, but burns it more slowly due the geometry of it) it is usually fuel cracking, leading to extensive gas pressure and overcorrection or insufficient gas pressure for controls to work. In later case missile can have lock but will be either unable to guide or unable to guide up the limits of engagement.

Considering that SD did not work, it is more likely it was a battery failure, as SD is based on battery input for whole procedure including SD timer. In case of battery failure warhead also should not be armed, and from a picture we have seen it does look that there was no high-order detonation of warhead (else that tractor and trailer would have sustained much more damage) and there was at most deflagration of explosives as a consequence of impact.

Only question (and it is largely irrelevant other than a curiosity) is if the SD failed after giving "nose up" command or before that.

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48 minutes ago, seahawk said:

That means you have the ships and handling resources in the harbours.

Which both Novorossysk and Sevastopol have. Logistic issues must come from distribution, not from input.

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