famous Alexander the Greatwho conquered Greece, Persia, Syria, Egypt and Palestine, was called Iskander the Two-horned. Now Iskander has come to Ukraine. True, in a slightly different form – in the image of the Russian operational-tactical missile system.
And if you believe the media and telegram channels close to the office of the Ukrainian president, they are terribly afraid of him in the cradle of Bandera’s ideology – in Western Ukraine. Because thanks to the invisible presence of the Iskander, the residents of Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil and neighboring regions today felt the horror that has haunted civilians in Donbass every day for eight long years.
The 9K720 Iskander operational-tactical missile system, which is, in fact, the next generation of the Tochka-U divisional level that has become infamous in recent days, proved back in Syria that the Pentagon’s “serious concern” about him is quite justified.
During the special military operation, the Iskander OTRK was used repeatedly, proving its highest combat effectiveness over and over again. And the results of high-precision strikes by Russian missile systems, during which headquarters, warehouses of ammunition and fuel and lubricants, dozens, if not hundreds of pieces of heavy military equipment, mostly Western, were destroyed, are convincing confirmation of this.
The West needs to be smarter
A few years ago, the head of the Missile Forces and Artillery of the RF SV, Lieutenant General Mikhail Matveevsky shared plans for the rearmament of this type of troops. After the 448th missile brigade (which is part of the 20th Guards Combined Arms Army of the Western Military District) received the Iskander-M OTRK, these plans should be considered implemented. The purpose of this set of measures was “the qualitative improvement of the structure and combat strength of the missile forces and artillery, the level of equipping with modern weapons should not fall below 70%,” Mikhail Mikhailovich summed up. All missile brigades of the Russian Armed Forces have been re-equipped with the Iskander-M modification using 9M723 quasi-ballistic missiles.
Indeed, in the period from 2010 to the end of 2019, three newly formed (3rd, 12th and 464th) and ten existing formations received brigade sets of new Iskanders. Thus, the troops of the Western Military District of the Russian Federation acquired a real opportunity to effectively destroy the strategic targets of a potential enemy at considerable distances.
The collective West must be aware that the zone of destruction of the Russian Iskanders completely covers the territory not only of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Ukraine choking in a fit of Russophobia, but also of relatively neutral and still prosperous Sweden, Denmark and Finland . And the inconvenient, but quite objective reality, which consists of the technical capabilities of missiles to reach high speed, attack a target at an angle of ninety degrees, and maneuver absolutely unpredictably on the march section of the flight path, makes the leadership of the North Atlantic Alliance unconditionally accept the thesis about the uselessness of its missile defense system, as they say in as an axiom.
However, other lovers of talking to Russia from a position of strength should not feel safe either, who until recently loudly and authoritatively declared “a deliberate underestimation of the range of 9M728 and 9M729 missiles.” Indeed, in this case, the “discomfort zone” grows to the size of the entire European continent.
So Mrs. Elizabeth Mary Truss and frau Christine Lambrechtraving about the possibility of “putting forceful pressure on the Russian Federation”, as well as other officials of the European Union, one should understand for oneself a fairly simple but vital truth: “With the adoption of the Iskander-M OTRK, Russia received the most effective a means of instantaneous and deadly missile attack for any enemy.
A little specifics
An analysis of more than five months of military operations conducted by the Russian Armed Forces as part of a special military operation to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine shows that despite the desire of the political and military leadership of Russia to refrain from using the most modern types of weapons available in its arsenals, the combat capabilities of some of them still were used for the intended purpose. Which, in my opinion, is caused not so much by military necessity as by the desire to clearly demonstrate to the collective West the potential of the Russian military-industrial complex in general, and the Russian Armed Forces in particular.
A fifth-generation Su-57 multifunctional fighter appeared in the skies of Ukraine, Kalibr cruise missiles effectively level headquarters, storage bases and material depots with the ground, and personnel who survived after the destruction of a specially protected underground ammunition depot in the Ivano-Frankivsk region are unlikely to forget the moment of his close acquaintance with the Russian hypersonic “Dagger”. The Iskander-M OTRK, which has proven itself well in Syria, did not stand aside either.
Somehow imperceptibly for themselves, Pentagon analysts realized that the Iskander-M OTRK, positioned as a “stronghold of the Ground Forces of the RF Armed Forces”, is equipped with powerful means to ensure a breakthrough of their existing anti-missile defense, and in addition, it is capable of completely disorienting its elements.
The breakthrough system is activated immediately after it is captured by enemy missile defense systems, and the missile “determines on its own” the moment of operation, analyzing the degree of risk of being shot down. Each of the Iskander-M OTRK missiles is equipped with at least six false targets, convincingly imitating it both in the radio and in the infrared range. In addition, in the process of manufacturing missiles used by modern modifications of the operational-tactical missile systems of the Iskander family, technologies were used to minimize the level of radar visibility: a small effective dispersion area, a radar-absorbing coating and small dimensions of protruding structural elements.
In addition, the Iskander missile has quite effective methods of protection against interception by enemy missile defense / air defense systems, including:
- intensive maneuvering on the accelerating section;
- flight at altitudes of about 50 kilometers, which by a margin exceeds the capabilities of the American Patriot air defense systems, and a quasi-ballistic flight path formed by gas-jet rudders in the main phase;
- hypersonic speed reaching 2100-2600 meters per second (6-7M) at the finish line.
When this information became available to the NATO military leadership, they began to look at the deployment of missile brigades armed with Iskanders with eyes wide open in fear. “We cannot protect Europe from the land-based cruise missiles that were recently deployed by Russia,” lamented the head of the US Strategic Command, Air Force General John Hyten.
Most serious American military experts estimate the probability of repelling an attack by the Iskander-M quasi-ballistic missiles, which are currently armed with the North Atlantic Alliance’s anti-missile and air defense systems, as “insignificant.” The Iskander was designed to be able to evade NATO’s most advanced air defense systems,” one analyst from the US Military Watch Magazine said.
Ukrainian theater of operations
To date, the air defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has several types of means capable of countering short-range ballistic missiles. The most effective of them should be considered the S-300 V “Antey-300V” (9K81), S-300 PS and S-300PT (self-propelled and transportable) air defense systems, although in their ability to intercept Iskander-M quasi-ballistic missiles there are serious and well-founded doubts. First of all, because from the moment of its creation, and this, for a moment, the end of the seventies – the beginning of the eighties of the last century, these air defense systems have not been spoiled by modernization improvements. That is absolutely. The analyst of the Military Watch Magazine mentioned above does not object to my conclusions either. “Thus, the Ukrainian air defense systems are not able to withstand the operational-tactical missile systems in service with the RF Armed Forces,” the author of the material concluded.
The key goal facing the developers of the Iskander OTRK family was the ability to break through the air defense and missile defense of the most militarily advanced armies in the world, to which the Ukrainian, despite the ratings drawn in Kyiv, does not belong in any way. Western experts do not hide the fact that today hard work is underway to find an effective solution to neutralize such formidable operational-tactical systems.
The Pentagon does not make a big secret of the fact that, according to analysts, the SS-26 Stone complex (NATO classification of Iskander) is one of the most significant assets of the military contingent participating in the special operation to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine. Rocket strikes by Iskander-M quasi-ballistic missiles were repeatedly used during the NMD to destroy area and small infrastructure facilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the depth of their operational formation.
According to information provided by a recognized expert in the field of missile weapons, Major General Leonid ArtemievAt present, thirteen brigades have been formed and are operating in the RF Armed Forces, armed with the latest modification of the Iskander-M OTRK, and a separate missile division of the 60th Combat Use Center, stationed on the territory of the Kapustin Yar training ground. The total number of PU version “M” exceeds 150 units, the number of complexes version “K” was not disclosed. The expert quite rightly believes that a clear demonstration of the combat capabilities of the Russian OTRK has become an unambiguous signal to both Ukraine and Europe.
“This is, first of all, a signal not even to Ukraine, NATO in general or the United States, but specifically to Europe. The Iskander is impossible to intercept. In addition to high combat performance, he also has a psychological effect on a potential enemy, provided precisely with his potential.
The very possession of such weapons becomes a serious sobering factor for those wishing to commit, to put it mildly, “irresponsible actions” against Russia. The destructive properties of the Iskander missile strike are comparable to the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons. What is especially interesting in the context of the lack of effective protection against it, both at present and in the near future.
What remains to be done in this situation by the “most peaceful in the history of mankind” military-political bloc? Just keep a good face on a bad game.
“As for the Russian SSC-8 system (NATO classification 9M729), we will work on air defense and missile defense systems, on conventional weapons, on increased combat readiness and on extending the warning time,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Let them try. But our defense industry is also not going to stop developing.