Attack on Russian radar is a significant escalation – Asia Times

Attack on Russian radar is a significant escalation - Asia Times

A Russian tactical detector station in Armavir, Russia, was hit by Ukrainian drones launched on May 23. This is not the first time nuclear facilities in Russia have been targeted and hit, but it also represents a substantial increase that could lead to Russian retaliation against NATO manufacturers or even a Russian nuclear response. The main concern expressed by Russia is that Ukraine had become a NATO storage facility for nuclear missiles.

It is n’t clear if the attack was entirely on Ukraine’s initiative&nbsp, or whether Ukraine’s NATO partners were involved.

Two long-range phased range scanners are used to avert a nuclear strike in Armavir. &nbsp, This page is in southwestern Russia in Krasnodar, Krai, and is on the basis of the Baranovsky Air Base situated it. &nbsp, One of the transponders covers the south and the other faces east. &nbsp, This sensor page replaces earlier strategic&nbsp, radar places in Ukraine that were abandoned around 2012, and another one little more functional in Azerbaijan.

Actually, the sensor is labeled as Vhf, which means either 1 GHz or lower in frequency and includes L Band at 1 Mhz. &nbsp, L Band scanners offer a methods of detecting cunning aircraft. Stealth systems are tailored to have a reduced sensor signature in the X- strap frequency&nbsp, range.

These radars even can find small objects that fly low to avoid radar recognition, for as&nbsp, US- Tomahawk cruise missiles.

US B- 2 bombers, F- 22 and F- 35 plane, and the fresh lengthy- range B- 3 strike bomber are stealth platforms and all are atomic mission ready.

Soviet Strategic Radar Locations

Russia has 10 proper scanners to protect the country. &nbsp, These scanners date from 2017. &nbsp, They have a variety of 6, 000 miles (3, 728 miles ) and are known as&nbsp, Voronezh- DM. Cruise weapons, ballistic missiles, and place attack scanners are among the scanners ‘ capabilities. &nbsp, The&nbsp, scanners are linked to the fresh S- 500 air defense system and to other&nbsp, weather threats.

The drones fired at the radar flew 1, 800 km ( 1, 118 miles ). &nbsp, This is well beyond Ukraine’s surveillance capabilities, although the radar site could have been located through commercial satellite imagery. &nbsp, The locations of Russia’s strategic radar sites are public information.

Partially destroyed Tekever AR3 Drone at Armavir

Initially&nbsp, Ukrainian sources claimed&nbsp, that the drones launched targeting Armavir were HUR type, that is, Ukrainian built. &nbsp, However, the Russians have recovered partially destroyed drones that are not local, Ukrainian products. &nbsp, The recovered drones are Portuguese- made&nbsp, Tekever AR3&nbsp, drones. After the UK agreed to pay for them, Portugal announced it would be providing these drones in June. Should the Russians choose to retaliate, the use of NATO weapons in the attack is deeply concerning.

Russia has so far said very little about the attack. A drone crashed into a building close to the radar, according to news reports and Telegram-provided information. That building, which houses the radar’s operating staff and likely houses Russia’s air defenses ‘ communications systems, has been damaged in photos. &nbsp, The radar also appears to be damaged.

How many drones were used in the attack and how many were shot down are unknown. According to photos that are currently available on the Russian defense channel on Telegram, it appears that at least one or two of the drones were hit.

The US also has PAVE- PAWS, a warning system for ballistic missiles, maintained by the US Space Force and recently replaced by the Solid State Phased Array Radar System.

BMEWS solid- state phased- array radar at RAF Fylingdales

The Ukrainian attack is the first time strategic nuclear defense facilities have been attacked in Russia or any other nation.

There has long been a debate among defense experts on the issue of&nbsp, “launch on warning” .&nbsp, Had the Russians believed this was a NATO attack on their nuclear facilities, that could have triggered a nuclear response.

Given that Ukraine’s army appears to be about to crumble, the nuclear issue is becoming extremely sensitive. &nbsp, US legislators&nbsp, and&nbsp, NATO’s leader&nbsp, are urging Ukraine to fire long range missiles at Russian territory. The Russians will be unable to tell whether a missile has a conventional or nuclear warhead if it does occur. &nbsp,

The Russians have suspected the US, &nbsp, especially since 2019, of secretly preparing a nuclear arsenal in eastern Europe, primarily in Poland and Romania. &nbsp, Recent&nbsp, Polish requests for NATO nuclear weapons&nbsp, to be positioned in that country, partly in response to Russian deployments of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, are concerning.

In 2019 Russian President&nbsp, Vladimir Putin warned&nbsp, that the US was installing MK- 41 vertical launchers in Romania and Poland that could fire either air defense missiles or launch Tomahawk cruise missiles with nuclear warheads.

Tomahawk cruise missiles have conventional warheads, which were originally nuclear, according to the official designation. &nbsp, The US says that, having replaced them with conventional munitions, stored the nuclear warheads and&nbsp, eventually got rid of them. &nbsp, MK- 41 launchers are part of the AEGIS- Ashore air defense complexes for Romania and Poland. and the same launchers are employed on US destroyers and cruisers.

Europe and Russia were protected by the&nbsp, Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty&nbsp, ( INF ) between the&nbsp, US and USSR that went into effect in December 1987. INF restricted all missiles with ranges between 500 and 5000 km ( 310 to 3, 106 miles ) and featured a strong verification and inspection scheme. &nbsp,

The US alleged that a new cruise missile the Russians were developing, called in Russia the 9M729 ( NATO SSC- 8 ) and said to be based on the Kinzhal naval missile, violated the INF Treaty. &nbsp, Althought the Russians said the 9M729 operated below the 500 km threshold, the US claimed it had evidence the Russians were cheating.

On this basis, President Donald Trump declared that the US would end its membership in the INF Treaty in 2018. The withdraw officially took place in August, 2019. &nbsp, The Russians then also formally pulled out of the treaty.

SS- CX- 8 (9M729 ). Photo: Russian Defense Ministry

Concern about nuclear weapons in eastern Europe and, potentially, in Ukraine plays an outsized role in Russia’s strategic outlook and its assessment of US and NATO intentions.

In the weeks leading up to the Russian army invasion of Ukraine, President Putin made a suggestion to Russia, NATO, and the United States that they should consider removing US and NATO weapons from eastern Europe, particularly Poland and Romania. This was made clear in late December 2021. The Putin appeal went nowhere&nbsp, and Russian forces crossed the border into Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

It remains murky why Ukraine attacked Russia’s strategic radars. The Ukrainians claim that these radars are involved in Russian airstrikes on Ukrainian territory. More likely, it is possible to demonstrate that Russian radars could track ATACMS missiles or, in the future, German Taurus missiles. &nbsp, Taking out these radars, for Ukraine, would help expose Russia to long range missile attacks launched from Ukrainian territory.

Similar attacks also raise anxieties in Russia that could lead to attacks on NATO facilities or even the use of tactical nuclear weapons, though the Ukrainians may see such an attack as setting the ground for more attempts to target Russia in an effort to offset losses at home.

Stephen Bryen previously held positions as the staff director of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Near East Subcommittee and as the country’s deputy undersecretary of defense for policy. &nbsp,

This article was first published on his&nbsp, Weapons and Strategy&nbsp, Substack and is republished with permission.