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Ukrainian Strikes Cause Embarrassment for Putin and Massive Damage at Russian Airbase in Crimea

Ukraine launched a significant attack on the Dzhankoi Air Base in Russian-occupied Crimea, targeting the facility that houses advanced air defense systems and aircraft. 

This attack included the use of MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) supplied by the U.S.

Located approximately 90 miles from the front lines, Dzhankoi Air Base serves as a pivotal location for Russian air operations over Ukraine. 

The base’s air defense capabilities, including the S-400 and S-300 systems, pose a substantial threat to Ukrainian military activities.

Early reports indicate that the attack successfully disabled several Russian air defense units. 

Satellite imagery confirmed the damage to at least four major components of the S-400 and S-300 systems, crucial for defending against Ukrainian air assaults.

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Credit: DepositPhotos – Capu Midia, Romania – September 17, 2020: The Patriot surface-to-air missile system of the Romanian Army at the National Training Center for Air Defense. — Photo by Mircea Moira

The S-400 Triumf, also known by its NATO reporting name SA-21 Growler, is a mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) system developed by Russia’s NPO Almaz. 

It serves as an upgrade to the S-300 family of missiles. 

Deployed since 2007, the S-400 boasts impressive capabilities; its missiles have varying ranges, with the 40N6E having a remarkable reach of up to 250 miles (400 km). 

The system can engage a wide array of threats, including aircraft, UAVs, cruise missiles, short-range ballistic missiles, and low-flying cruise missiles. 

Its robust search and tracking radars, operating in the X- and L-bands, provide comprehensive coverage and enhance its effectiveness .

New satellite images from Planet Labs reveal extensive damage at the airbase, particularly around the locations of the S-400 and S-300 systems. 

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Credits: DepositPhotos

These images show burnt-out structures and significant scorch marks from the impacts.

The Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) recorded multiple fires around the base, correlating with the satellite imagery and confirming the locations of the strikes.

While the main targets were the air defense systems, the attack also affected aircraft hardstands in the northern part of the base. 

Although no direct damage to aircraft is evident from the images, relocation of assets post-strike suggests potential damages.

In response to the ongoing threat, Russian military strategy included moving air defense assets around to reduce vulnerability. 

The movement of these systems was evident in satellite images taken before the attack.

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Credit: DepositPhotos

The use of ATACMS missiles, particularly those equipped with cluster warheads, highlights Ukraine’s strategic focus on undermining Russian air capabilities. 

The scorch marks and damage patterns are consistent with the use of such munitions.

This strike is part of a larger effort by Ukraine to neutralize Russian military strength in Crimea. 

The targeting of Dzhankoi Air Base disrupts Russian air operations and degrades their logistical capabilities, pivotal for sustaining military efforts in the region.

As the conflict persists, the destruction at Dzhankoi Air Base underscores the escalated use of advanced weaponry by Ukraine. 

This operation not only showcases the strategic use of Western-supplied arms but also marks a significant moment in the conflict, potentially altering the operational capabilities of Russian forces in Crimea.