On April 10, the head of the Air and Space Defence Command of the Russian Federation Andrey Demin reported that Russia has multiplied the number of air defence complexes deployed near the Ukrainian border.
According to the Russian military official, the number of units equipped with medium- and long-range anti-aircraft missile systems, including S-400, S-300PM2, S-350, was doubled, while the number of Pantsir-S complexes near the borders was increased by five times. In order to solve the tasks of detecting aerial targets operating from the territory of Ukraine, more than 50 mobile radar stations have been additionally deployed and A-50U airborne early warning and control aircraft are patrolling around the clock in the air.
“The air defence complexes of the Aerospace Forces, as well as the attached means of military air defence, combined into a common system under a single leadership, have been deployed in the border Belgorod, Bryansk, Kursk regions at a distance to the maximum possible range of the enemy’s air attack,” he said.
Strengthening of air defence was required to solve the tasks of secure important infrastructure facilities located in the Russian Federation. In addition, air defence units have been formed in the new regions of the Russian Federation (DPR, LPR, Zaporozhie and Kherson) in order to protect important facilities and large administrative and industrial centers located in the zone of the special operation.
The effectiveness of the Russian air defence forces leaves much to be desired, since the Ukrainian military still reaches some of its targets on the Russian territory. However, so far the Ukrainian forces have not managed to inflict any significant damage to Russian facilities.
Assessing the results, Mr Demin provided an example of the Turkish-made Bayraktars. The military official claimed that since the beginning of the Russian special military operation, Russian forces have destroyed more than 100 of these UAVs.
“I would like to note that there are almost no fundamental differences in the fight against strategic-level drones such as the American Global Hawk (RQ-4) and Reaper (MQ-9) or operational-tactical Turkish Bayraktars—TB compared to the counteraction of modern manned aviation,” he added.
At the same time, the Russian military faced the problem of detection by standard means of radar reconnaissance of Russian troops of mini- and micro-drones.
The first Russian radar systems to combat mini-drones were delivered to the units of the Russian air defence forces in 2022. They included the first Russian reconnaissance and counteraction systems for tactical unmanned aerial vehicles, called “RLK-MC”.
“They are already carrying out combat missions to cover important military and state facilities, including in the area of the special military operation,” Demin said.
These complexes are capable not only of timely detecting tactical drones operating at low and extremely low altitudes, at a range of up to 20 kilometers, issuing target designation to air defence fire means, but also independently carry out their electronic suppression.
In 2023, several more RLK-MC will be delivered to the Russian air defence forces, and from 2024 the defence industry enterprises will supply up to 20 complexes annually for the needs of our air defence units, Demin added.