War in Ukraine – Some details of the initial attack

War in Ukraine – Some details of the initial attack

In the first minutes of today February 24, 2022 (early morning in Ukraine), the Russian armed forces took the first steps in what will probably be an extensive offensive on a significant part of the Ukrainian territory. During this first phase, Russia tried to attack those targets that make up the core infrastructure of the Ukrainian defense system, attacking air bases/airports (Borýspil, Ozernomu, Kulbakinomu, Chuguev, Kramatorsk and Chornobayivtsi) and naval bases (Ochakiv), airfields, army and national guard, command and control centers, warehouses and magazines.

For this first wave of attacks, Russia resorted to a wide range of weapon systems, having chosen to make use of the long-range precision strike capability offered by systems such as the 3M-54 Kalibr cruise missile, the Kh-555 and the KH-101 as well as 9K720 Iskander short-range ballistic missiles. It was also possible to appreciate the use of multiple rocket launchers (probably BM30 Smerch, BM-27 Uragan and BM-21 Grad), weapons that are deeply rooted and widespread in Russian artillery units and that undoubtedly raise certain doubts since their precision is more limited. The breadth of targets hit throughout the Ukrainian territory leads us to speculate that the systems were deployed from aircraft and ships, which have maintained a presence in the theater of operations for several weeks.

Among some of the cities hit by Russian fire are Kiev, Mariupol, Kharkov, Odessa, Dnipro and almost the entire line of contact that separates the separatist territories. Although there are no official reports yet, it is very likely that the fleet of ships and submarines that maintain a presence in the Black Sea, as well as aerial means such as TU-95SM Bear H bombers and Su-34 fighter-bombers, have participated in the aforementioned attacks. Fullback, among others. Offensive actions included a wide spectrum of missions, including those planned to suppress or destroy the Ukrainian air defense system, with evidence of the use of KH-31P anti-radiation missiles. With the situation in constant development, throughout the day we hope to have greater precision of the events as corroborated reports emerge. Meanwhile, we will review the main means that have surely been used in the Russian attack. The Iskander is a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) of the mobile type, which is mounted on an 8×8 vehicle.

The system can be configured with several different conventional warheads depending on the target to be beaten. This includes a thermobaric version, a high-explosive-fragmentation warhead, a model specifically for destroying hardened targets, among others. According to the information that exists about the system, it can reach hypersonic speeds, being able to hit targets 500km away. Its probable circular error (CEP) is approximately 5-7 meters, which is not a problem since its explosive load is around 700 to 800kg. Having made its debut during the conflict in Syria, the Kalibr consists of a family of anti-ship cruise missiles launched primarily from naval platforms such as frigates, corvettes and submarines. Capable of carrying a 400-500kg high explosive warhead, the Kalibr can engage targets at a range of 1,500 to 2,500km.

Su sistema de guía del tipo inercial, contando con guía activa por radar en su fase terminal. Los misiles KH-555 corresponden a una versión actualizada del KH-55, habiendo recibido un nuevo sistema de guiado y una ojiva mejorada. Se especula que su alcance superaría los 2500 kilómetros, portando una carga explosiva de 400 kilogramos. En cuanto al Kh-101, el mismo fue desarrollado para sustituir al KH-55 incorporando sensibles mejoras tales como un diseño sigiloso, sistema electro-óptico para la corrección de la trayectoria de vuelo y sistema de guiado por televisión para el guiado terminal. Su alcance superaría los 3000 kilómetros. Entre las plataformas que pueden utilizarlos se encuentran los bombarderos modernizados Tu-160 y Tu-95MSM. 

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