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Ukraine requests it, and Slovakia requires an alternative. What is the “S-300”?

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Ukraine requires a surface-to-air missile system to support its defenses against Russia, while Slovakia has stipulated an “alternative” to provide it to kyiv.

In a recent hypothetical speech before the US Congress, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged US lawmakers and the White House to send weapons capable of defending his country against Russian airstrikes and missile attacks.

He highlighted in his speech the S-300 air defense system, which although older than the highly advanced Russian S-400 system, this system is still considered to be capable of dealing with ballistic and cruise missiles, according to the Eurasian Times newspaper. .

The only countries that own the S-400 system are Russia (the manufacturer), China, and Turkey, and it was shipped to India, which began assembling and deploying it near its western borders.

Now, it seems that Slovakia has agreed to provide Ukraine with this Soviet-era air defense system, but it sets a condition for that.

While the US and NATO are still studying how to support kyiv’s air defense capabilities, the transfer has not been confirmed.

Slovak Defense Ministry spokeswoman Martina Koval Kakašikov said the issue will be discussed with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who arrived in Bratislava on Thursday.

He noted that Slovakia has no problem sending the “S-300” system to Ukraine, “but we cannot get rid of the system that protects our airspace if we have no alternatives.”

A few days ago, US President Joe Biden said that Washington would help Ukraine obtain long-range air defense systems, but without going into details.

Currently, there are three member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operating the “S-300” system, namely Slovakia, Greece and Bulgaria.

However, since the Greek system is different from the Ukrainian one, this raises questions about whether more training is needed for Zelensky’s soldiers to handle the weapons effectively.

“S-300” in short

A Russian-made anti-missile and anti-aircraft system, which is popular among the former Warsaw Pact countries in Eastern Europe due to its low cost and high efficiency. Some of the latest models can intercept ballistic and cruise missiles.

The system was developed in the 1960s and entered Soviet service in 1978, and there are different types of it.

Produced by “Almaz” Scientific Industries (Russia) and has several different versions, all developed from the “S-300B”. The system was designed to deter aircraft and cruise missiles of the Soviet Air Defense Forces.

The system was also built with the goal of defending important targets and strategic military and economic installations against air attack.

The S-300 is one of the most powerful anti-aircraft systems currently in existence, and the upgraded version is the S-400, which entered service on April 28, 2007.

The S-300 can handle 24 aircraft or 16 ballistic missiles up to a distance of 250 km at a time.

The Maz-7910 heavy truck is usually used to transport the S-300 launcher, and the system has a range of up to 93 miles on the latest models, while older Ukrainian systems have a limited range of 50 to 60 miles.

Since the Ukrainian Air Force can operate with only a limited number of interceptor fighters, soldiers must rely on surface-to-air missiles to protect against Russian aircraft attacks.

According to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, some of the S-300BS systems in Ukraine are still active. For example, on the night between March 8 and 9, he is said to have helped take out four Russian Su-25 attack planes, two helicopters and two cruise missiles.

The “S-300” system has become a key element in Ukraine’s demands; Because it is designed to hit targets at higher altitudes and longer ranges compared to the Javelin and Stinger missiles sent by Washington.

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