The air war over Ukraine

Trident against a bear

Photo: author’s archive

Part 1

The harsh awakening



The view of the permanent radar base near Mariupol uncovers the widespread damages after the initial Russian attack in the morning of February 24, 2022. Burnt out identification

system 1L22 Parol can be seen in the foreground while in the background there is 1Rl130 PRV-13 Nadezhnost altimeter, still being consumed by flames, which worked together with

the area radar 1RL139 P-37 Dyshina missing from the picture but had been present.

February 24, 2022, will forever go down in history as a day

when the Russian Federation

breached all the valid agreements and international laws,

including the UN Charter, establishing inviolability and territorial integrity of a sovereign

state, when they launched an

unprecedented war against



INFO Eduard

Vladimir Putin’s “imperialistic appetite”, cynically camouflaged by a “special military

operation” designation, started to show in

vee hours on Thursday February 24 when

3M14 Kalibr (SS-N-30) cruise missiles and

9M723 tactical ballistic missiles from 9K720

Iskander-M (SS-26 Stone) launchers started to literally rain on various military and

strategic targets, mainly the air bases and

air defense locations including the area radars throughout the whole Ukrainian territory. The mission of these ground and also

naval rocket forces was suppression and

paralysis of the Ukrainian air defense system and loss of the situational awareness

in their own airspace to disable the efficient

guidance of their own fighter aircraft and

AA missiles against the Russian attackers.

Based on the currently available sources

it seems that the VKS RF role in their initial attacks was minimal and its activity

was mainly in the form of guided cruise

missiles Ch-101 (AS-23 Kodiak), Ch-555

(AS-22 Kluge) launched at high altitudes

and long distance from Tu-95 and Tu-160

bombers to avoid Ukrainian PLRK S-300

(SA-10 Grumble) and 9K37M1 Buk-M1 (SA-11

Gadfly) which were in the beginning of the

conflict available to the defenders in fairly

large numbers. VKS RF strategic bombers

therefore operated in the safe zone of the

Russian own territory without exposure

to the possible strike by the Ukrainians.

For the tactical attack missions right over

Ukraine the units flying the Su-34 tactical

bombers were designated. The aircraft has

been glorified as not having any western

equivalent. The VKS RF Headquarters and

possibly some BAP personnel may have

believed the myth. However, they faced the

harsh reality of the losses accumulated

in the coming weeks. On the other hand,

Su-34 fully replaced Su-24M in the role of

a bombing platform. Until the end of April

this type was not spotted in the VKS RF missions in Ukraine except for the special reconnaissance version REB Su-24MR which

was observed in Belarus.

June 2022