Weapons of victory: what cutting-edge developments has Russia used in Ukraine

Modernized anti-aircraft missile system

Modernized anti-aircraft missile system “Buk-M3”

A photo: Alexey STEFANOV


The appearance of the American HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems in the Donbass created a lot of publicity in the Western press. What did not write about them with enthusiasm! And that such systems will allow the Ukrainians to “bring to their knees” the Russian army, and that now a “decisive change” will inevitably come in favor of Kyiv, and that “Moscow has no antidote.”

Yes, we did not deny that HIMARS is a serious weapon and you need to work hard to neutralize it (especially since we met it for the first time in a real combat situation). But it is one thing to destroy an “American” with an artillery shell or a rocket from an aircraft when she is frozen in position, but it is quite another to shoot down a shell when she has already fired. And wait for the flight…

And here several problems immediately arise: HIMARS shells fly high – more than 20 km – and it is not so easy to get them. This target is very small and looks “like a mosquito” on our radar screens. Yes, and rushes in our direction at breakneck speed. So the time to defeat is minimal. Tens of seconds! Not big.

At first it seemed that the destruction of such a target was an impossible task. But our anti-aircraft gunners solved it! As one officer said: “As the fighting progresses, our professionalism grows and now it is not difficult to deal with HIMARS shells.”

These shells are destroyed by the upgraded Buk-M3 anti-aircraft missile system. He once again confirmed the “reputation” of one of the best means of air defense. Not only does this complex successfully “work” against enemy aircraft, helicopters and missiles, it turned out that it is very effective against high-speed projectiles of the same HIMARS. Moreover, initially such abilities were not laid in the Buk-M3. The special operation and the professionalism of the people who operate this weapon have opened up new unique properties in it.


Along with battle-tested weapons, new weapons are also used in the special operation.

For the first time, the newest Russian drone “Lastochka” took off into the skies of Donbass. And he has already shown himself – more than once sniper hit the enemy’s manpower and even destroyed several of his armored targets (fragmentation and cumulative ammunition).

Drone "Martin".  Photo: Frame from TV report "Star"

UAV “Swallow”. Photo: Frame from the reportage of the TV channel “Zvezda”

Well, what is this formidable unit with such an affectionate name? Its thin wings really look like swallows. Yes, and it weighs a little – a little more than 7 kilos. The engine allows him to fly at a speed of 120 kilometers per hour and climb almost 5 kilometers in height. It can “hang” in the air for almost 40 hours and fly off from the command station – for 40 kilometers. And under the “belly” he has a whole bunch of ammunition (grenades and mines) with a total weight of about 5 kilograms. With their help, the drone will “peck” even 200-mm armor.


The aerospace forces also have something to brag about: for the first time in Ukraine, they used the latest reconnaissance systems based on the Su-34 front-line bomber. These are, literally, the eyes of our intelligence – they extremely accurately determine not only the coordinates, but also other parameters of enemy targets. This also applies to air defense positions and radars.

Well, what is the “trick” here?

Three completely different containers were developed for the Su-34: one for electronic intelligence, the other for optical-electronic, and the third for radar. When they work together, they view the target from different angles with phenomenal accuracy and immediately relay this information to the ground.

Su-34 bomber

Su-34 bomber

A photo: Vladimir VELENGURIN

With this equipment, the Su-34 can either carry out reconnaissance, pointing other aircraft or ground assets at targets, or work itself in a “found-attack” cycle. And he has something to attack: at 12 external suspension points – up to 8 tons of weapons. It:

– guided air-to-air missiles of various types,

– air-to-surface guided missiles,

– aviation bombs (including adjustable ones),

– one-time bomb cassettes

– unguided rockets.

This aircraft is a well-tested front-line soldier. For five years of combat work in Syria, not a single Su-34 was lost, and the combat flight time of some pilots exceeded 400 hours. It is this rich experience that now helps combat pilots to defeat the enemy in Ukraine.


We have already talked about some of the “premiers”. For example, about the first appearance on the battlefield of the world’s longest-range sniper rifle “Twilight” (shoots at – 4.5 km!).

The longest-ranged sniper rifle in the world

The longest-ranged sniper rifle in the world “Twilight” shoots at 4.5 km! Photo: Vladimir Gerdo/TASS

Also for the first time, the modernized loitering ammunition “Lancet” began to be used. They are equipped with a high-explosive fragmentation warhead of 1 kg.

The Lancet-1 has a take-off weight of only 5 kg.

Lancet-3 is noticeably heavier (it weighs 12 kg and carries a 3 kg warhead).

Loitering ammunition

Loitering ammunition “Lancet”

A photo: Alexey STEFANOV

In terms of their power, the warheads of these drones can be compared with a medium-caliber artillery shell.

Both loitering munitions are launched by a ground-based catapult. In flight, they are capable of speeds of 80-110 km/h. A lighter device has a flight duration of 30 minutes, a heavy version – up to 40 minutes. Works at ranges up to 40 km from the operator’s console.

Another novelty of the special operation is the latest LPD-801 electronic warfare gun (it is used against small-sized Ukrainian drones). It “cuts down the electronic brains” of enemy drones at a distance of up to 1.5 kilometers. And it can also jam the control and navigation channels of enemy drones. And I must say that on his “combat account” there are already many victories.


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