TechUkrainian HIMARS strike evades Russia's touted air defense systems

Ukrainian HIMARS strike evades Russia's touted air defense systems

The moment the missile was fired from the Russian air defense system.
The moment the missile was fired from the Russian air defense system.
Images source: © X, @NOELreports
9:18 AM EDT, March 13, 2024

A Russian soldier captured the footage and seems to have been cut short by an unexpected event. As the Russian air defense systems were in operation, one of the Ukrainian missiles landed nearby, damaging at least one piece of the invaders' equipment and likely injuring the person recording, as hinted at the end of the video.

This incident might reflect the Russian soldiers' overconfidence in their command's claims about the superiority of the S-400 and Pantsir-S1 defense systems, which are currently deployed to protect Moscow's skies.

HIMARS versus Russian S-400 and Pantsir-S1 systems

Developed in the 1990s as an advanced version of the S-300PMU system, the S-400 was introduced in 2007. Its versatility allows it to employ various missile types, capable of hitting targets from 25 miles (with 9M96 missiles weighing around 770 pounds) to 249 miles (with 40N6E missiles weighing approximately 3,968 pounds), depending on the target.

The Pantsir-S1 system, also hailing from the 1990s, boasts a pair of 30 mm caliber automatic cannons with a fire rate of 2,500 rounds per minute, effective for targets up to roughly 2.5 miles away. It's also equipped with slots for 12 57E6 or 57E6-E anti-aircraft missiles, which can hit targets up to 12 miles away and at altitudes of about 9.3 miles.

Russian anti-air defense can be unreliable

The performance of Russian anti-air defense systems, particularly the S-400, has been scrutinized not just in the context of the Ukrainian conflict but also in prior incidents. For instance, their effectiveness was questionable in Syria, where they often failed to intercept incoming Israeli aircraft. Similarly, they could not protect the Belgorod airport from an attack by Ukraine in 2022 despite being deployed alongside the Pantsir S-1 systems.

In the recent incident highlighted by the video, these defense systems fell short against a Ukrainian assault carried out using HIMARS artillery, presumably deploying standard M30 missiles.
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