Air Defense: Russian Devolution In Ukraine


November 8, 2022: In early 2022 Russian forces went into Ukraine with lots of self-propelled anti-aircraft systems plus older but still reliable towed and truck-mounted S-60 systems with a 57mm gun. The new tracked 2S38 Derivaciya has a 57mm gun and a better fire control system while the new truck mounted Pantsir-S1 has twelve missiles as well as two 30mm autocannon and a fire-control system equipped with a radar that can detect targets up to 40 kilometers away while the missiles could hit targets up to 30 kilometers distant. In practice the Pantsir-S1 was not very effective and vulnerable to attack by slow-moving UAVs. Both the 2S38 and Pantsir-S1 systems suffered heavy losses in Ukraine and, because both needed some components imported from the West, replacements could not be produced. The towed or truck mounted S-60 could still be manufactured and now is the principal short-range anti-aircraft system for ground forces.

The Ukrainians received superior portable and vehicle mounted anti-aircraft systems from NATO nations and have maintained more effective anti-aircraft systems for their ground forces. The Russian S-60 weighs 4.6 tons in the towed version and about the same when mounted on a truck. The 57mm autocannon can deliver a sustained 70 rounds per minute. The fire-control system is optical and provides accurate fire control out to four kilometers. The 57mm shells are effective out to six kilometers if there is radar support, but that is rarely available. The S-60 requires a crew of seven to obtain optimal effectiveness. It is crude but effective, and currently is all Russia can provide for its troops in Ukraine.


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