A Russian Su-35S has allegedly destroyed a Ukrainian air defense system with a special anti-radiation missile, as per the latest video released by the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD).
The Russian MoD’s video shows a Su-35 fighter being prepared and tested at a temporary operational airfield. The fighter can be seen armed with a missile that appears to be a Kh-31P anti-radiation missile.
After a short while, the pilot takes charge of the jet, and the aircraft is seen taking off from the airfield. The video ends with the Su-35 arriving back at the airfield.
As per the release by Russian MoD, the Su-35S fighter belonged to the Western Military District (WMD), and it destroyed the military infrastructure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) during a special military operation.
However, neither the video shows any target being destroyed nor the Russian MoD provides any specifics of the operation carried out by the Su-35 depicted in the video.
Shortly after this video was released, a Russian newspaper, Izvestia, published a report accompanied by a video that provided more details of the ‘special military operation.’
The pilot of the Su-35S, Alexander, told Izvestia that he discovered a radio-emitting target while flying on his combat course and reported it to the command post, following which he received permission to destroy the target.
“After I was given permission, I launched a missile at a ground target,” said Alexander.
Alexander also explained that Russian fighter planes are flown above the clouds until a target is detected. While speaking about his aircraft, the Su-35S, he said that the fighter could be deployed for multiple purposes.
“The aircraft is multifunctional. It not only works as an air-to-air fighter, but it also works with air-to-surface guided missiles. It also carries out the bombing with various types of ammunition,” said Alexander.
In the video accompanying the report by Izvestia, the Su-35S is seen armed with what appears to be a Kh-31P anti-radiation missile.
Izvestia’s video is longer and shows a surface target being destroyed by an aircraft with a missile.
Use Of Anti-radiation Missiles In Ukraine
There has been a lot of fanfare around the American-made AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-radiation Missiles (HARM) provided to Ukraine and the various Suppression/Destruction of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD/DEAD) operations being conducted by the Ukrainian Air Force, using these newly acquired anti-radiation missiles.
However, the Russian military has also been known to deploy its anti-radiation missiles for SEAD/DEAD operations against Ukrainian air defense systems.
There have been images on social media of the remains of Kh-31P missiles in Ukraine, dating as far back as February. One of the destroyed missiles was found at the center of Kyiv on February 24.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) February 24, 2022
The Kh-31P is a medium-range supersonic anti-radiation missile powered by a scramjet with a built-in booster to realize high supersonic speed. It is designed to destroy medium- and long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems’ radars, air operations control radars, and early warning radars.
The missile’s maximum range is 110-130 kilometers, and it can be accelerated up to Mach 3+ speeds – more than three times the speed of sound.
The seeker onboard the Kh-31P can operate in several homing modes, including automatic search and external control modes. Also, the missile can be equipped with up to three radar seekers covering multiple frequencies.
One of the remarkable features of the missile is its ability to perform an evasive 10-g pull-up maneuver if detected by enemy radar.
So far, there is no concrete evidence on either side of the ongoing Ukraine war of the successful use of anti-radiation missiles to destroy the enemy air defense radar system.
However, a video was released recently by Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor and former deputy minister in the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, showing what he referred to as an aftermath of an AGM-88 missile hitting the Buk air defense system in Kherson.
#Ukraine: The aftermath of a Ukrainian high-precision strike on a Russian Buk air-defense system – presumably 9A317 TELAR for the Buk-M2. As a result, the vehicle was completely destroyed. pic.twitter.com/6GCRXgRsVw
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) September 5, 2022
OSINT analysts tracking the Ukraine war suggest the air defense system shown in the video is the Buk-M2 system, and the target destroyed is presumably the 9A317 Transportation Erector Launcher and Radar (TELAR).
The TELAR consists of a NIIP 9S36 passive phased array engagement radar, which can track and illuminate multiple targets. This radar is supposed to have attracted the AGM-88 anti-radiation missile, going by Gerashchenko’s account of the incident.