Russia sets world record, lands first AA kill at range of 217km
Russia broke its former world record in downing warplanes at extremely long ranges.
Russian air defense systems stationed in Russia's Belgorod region broke the world record for the furthest ever surface-to-air kill at 217km against Ukrainian warplanes flying over Ukraine, according to the Military Watch Magazine.
Ukrainian Su-27 and Su-24 aircraft, believed to be some of Ukraine's somewhat rare and heavyweight classes operational six months into the war, were waging airstrikes on Russian forces. Both aircraft greatly outrank the rest of Ukraine's aerial capabilities in terms of ranges and payloads, which mostly include drones and MiG-29 fighters.
Both Su's were moving at low altitudes in order to dodge air defense, only increasing their altitude to launch rockets before descending as part of a flight pattern known in the region as "jumping". The Russian air defenses take the opportunity to fire at them when they are in the second stage of the "jump", mainly using the S-300V4 system, Military Watch Magazine explained.
The S-300 system fired at both aircraft at the long range of 217km and downed them, surpassing Russia's former record of 150km set by the S-400 air defense system against an Su-27 over Kiev at the onset of the Ukraine war.
The S-300V4 came into service in the early 2010s, integrating many of the same technologies as the older S-400, enjoying very high mobility, shorter set-up times, and high capabilities against cruise and ballistic missiles.
The system's mobility is highly beneficial for Russia, as it has an intended role of accompanying advancing infantry, and it can fire a wide range of missiles, including the 40N6, whose range is a whopping 400km and whose speed is faster than a Mach 14. The missile suspected to be behind the kill is the 48N6DM, which has a range of 250km and is able to intercept hypersonic targets.
The Su-27 and the Su-24 flying at low altitudes indicate that Russia must have shot at the aircraft using a 40N6 due to the optimized and engaging nature of the missile against low-altitude targets.
According to Military Watch Magazine, The 40N6 rises to very high altitudes before descending toward its target, giving its inbuilt radar wider coverage and exceptional performance at ranges over 250km, allowing the missiles to intercept targets flying as low as 5 meters off the ground at a radius of 400 km.
Even the top western rivals of the 40N6 cannot compete with it, with the Russian projectile having double their range.
The kill against the Su-27 is a reflection of Russia's overwhelming superiority in air defense, not to mention its overall supremacy in aerial combat.
The Russian armed forces have been conducting a vicious campaign over the past week, which has seen Moscow shelling Ukraine and carrying out drone strikes, causing air raids to blare throughout the country and leading to a highly tense atmosphere.
Russia carried out strikes against infrastructure critical for the Ukrainian military throughout the week, which happened to include facilities related to energy and connectivity.