Rare Russian anti-aircraft launcher damaged by mine in a first-ever incident
A recording from a part of the Luhansk region controlled by the Russians has emerged online. The recording suggests that the army of the occupiers accidently ran over one of the mines set up by the Ukrainians. A profile named Clash Report on platform X alleges that the Russians are trapped in the area where the incident occurred and cannot leave due to the surrounding minefield.
Conversely, Defense Express points out that this marks the first globally documented instance where any army has lost an anti-aircraft missile launcher due to a mine explosion. Notably, the S-350 Vityaz is a Russian-made weapon, produced only in small quantities.
The Vityaz was introduced to the Russian Federation army in 2020 and by 2022, the Russians only possessed six such launchers. The fate of one among these, now damaged by a mine, remains undetermined. It depends on whether the weapon can be safely retrieved from the hazardous area and whether successful repairs are possible.
It's worth remembering that for the Russians, the S-350 is seen as valuable equipment. The system is, in essence, the counterpart to the aging S-300 batteries. The Vityaz is expected to possess significantly greater firepower than its predecessor. Each S-350 launcher carries up to 12 missiles.
The Vityaz can fire at enemy air targets, including maneuvering missiles located over 74.5 miles away and at altitudes exceeding 18.6 miles, utilizing guided warheads. The launcher is engineered to attack targets using three different types of rockets:
- 9M96-2 with a range of up to 83.9 miles (weight roughly 926 lbs, length 18.5 feet);
- 9M96 with a range of 18.6 miles (weight 734 lbs, length 15.5 feet);
- 9M100 with a range of 6.2 miles (weight 308 lbs, length 10.3 feet).
Despite the S-350 system's substantial striking power and its mobility (which enables it to switch from marching to combat position in less than 5 minutes), the Russian Vityaz is pricy to manufacture. This is why the army currently only has a few units of this weapon. It is estimated that a single system costs approximately $135 million.