The Ukrainian military has reportedly replaced the old navigation system of their S-200 missiles with small GPS devices to carry out deep strikes into Russian territory. This move has caught the attention of the Russian Ministry of Defense, which announced on July 28th that it had intercepted two modified Ukrainian S-200 missiles in an attack on the Rostov region. This article will delve into the details of this development and its implications.
Background on S-200 Missile System
The S-200 missile system was designed by the Soviet Union in 1964 and was deployed in 1967. It is a ground-to-air missile system primarily used for air defense purposes. The missiles used in the S-200 system, namely V-860 and V-880, are large and heavy, measuring over 9 meters in length and weighing about 7 tons. These missiles are equipped with a 217 kg fragmentation warhead.
- The S-200 missile system requires a crew to operate it, including the use of heavy-duty tractors to transport the launchers and a radar system called P-14/5N84A 5N62.
- The P-14/5N84A surveillance radar is capable of detecting targets at distances of hundreds of kilometers, while the 5N62 tracking radar guides the missiles towards their intended targets.
- In air defense missions, the S-200 system can effectively hit targets located up to 300 km away at an altitude of 40,000 meters.
Ukraine’s Modifications to the S-200
The Ukrainian military has apparently modified the S-200 missiles to enhance their ground attack capabilities. It is believed that these modifications were made to compensate for the lack of modern long-range missiles from the West, which Ukraine is eagerly awaiting.
- There are indications that Ukraine has replaced the old navigation system of the S-200 missiles with small GPS devices.
- This modification allows the missiles to have better navigation capabilities for ground targets at longer distances.
- By replacing the large control system on the V-860 and V-880 missiles with small GPS devices, Ukraine aims to improve the accuracy and effectiveness of their ground strikes.
Potential Impact and Concerns
The modified S-200 missiles offer Ukraine the ability to carry out long-range strikes into Russian territory at a relatively lower cost, as they can utilize their existing stockpiles of S-200 missiles. Furthermore, Ukraine is not bound by any constraints in using these modified missiles to target Russian territory, unlike weapons provided by Western allies.
- There is uncertainty regarding the number of S-200 systems and missiles currently possessed by Ukraine. However, it is believed that they have amassed a significant number of these missiles.
- The intercepted Ukrainian S-200 missile that fell in Taganrog raises questions about its target. Speculation suggests that it may have been aimed at the crowded Taganrog air base, where various Russian aircraft, including drones, bombers, and transport planes, are stationed.
- Doubts persist about the accuracy of the modified navigation system on the S-200 missiles. Although these modifications enhance ground attack capabilities, they may still be prone to missing targets due to potential inaccuracies.
The Ukrainian military’s decision to modify the navigation systems of S-200 missiles with small GPS devices has raised significant concerns for the Russian Ministry of Defense. These modifications improve the ground attack capabilities of the missiles, allowing Ukraine to conduct long-range strikes into Russian territory. However, questions remain about the accuracy and effectiveness of these modified missiles. Their potential impact on the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia is yet to be fully understood.