Air War over Ukraine

Patriot vs. Kinzhal

Text: Miro Barič

A Ukrainian operator prepares a Patriot battery for action.

This instalment covers the May period and picks up exactly where the

previous instalment ended. The Ukrainian attacks against important

targets in the Russian rear and the Russian bombing of Ukrainian

cities continued without pause. Patriot air defence systems, which

have just arrived, have been heavily involved in their defence. Another

major weapon from the West has also appeared on the scene, and

there has been another black day for the Russian air force.

As we noted at the end of the previous

instalment, the Ukrainian capital Kiev has

enjoyed almost two months of relative calm.

But then the Russian attacks resumed and

continued throughout May. This time, however,

with a big difference – the Russian missiles

were countered by Patriot batteries. The first

arrived on April 21 and the second on April

27. One of them was delivered from the USA

and the other from Germany. In addition, the

Netherlands provided two additional launchers

to reinforce these batteries. The Russian forces

decided to destroy the Patriot batteries at any


INFO Eduard

cost. After a month of continuous attacks,

Putin officially announced the destruction of

five Patriot batteries of the two supplied ... This

probably needs no further comment.

On contrast, the Russian Ch-47M2 Kinzhal

missiles have lost their aura of invincibility.

These were put into service by the Russians

at the turn of 2017/18. Officially, they have

a range of 2,000 km, reach a speed of Mach

10 and can carry a conventional or nuclear

warhead. According to Russian propaganda,

they are hypersonic weapons. In reality, they

are ballistic missiles developed from Iskander

Photo: Ukrainian Armed

Forces, social media and

other public sources

surface-to-surface missiles and modified for

launch from aircraft – specifically Tu-22M3

and MiG-31 types. With ballistic missiles, all

you have to do is calculate their trajectory and

send the missile their way, so to speak. Real

hypersonic weapons are able to maneuver in

such a way that there is no time for the defense

to react to a change in trajectory.

Moscow claimed that it had deployed Kizhals

against Ukraine from the very beginning of the

war. However, they have only used them in small

numbers. The reason for this is their high cost

(reportedly $10 million) and the small number

July 2023