From messages in social networks and the media, it is possible to draw conclusions about the strikes on air bases of strategic missile carriers of the Russian Armed Forces at Engels-1 and Diaghilev air bases and how effective and well-thought-out the operation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was.
1. Significance: For the first time in the war, a strategic operation of the Russian Armed Forces was partially disrupted by a single drone attack;
For the first time in history, strategic aviation planes of a nuclear power were hit directly at the base;
For the first time since the Second World War, combat aircraft penetrated into central Russia unnoticed and delivered a precise attack on the Russian army.
2. Results: Judging by the photo of the Tu-22M3 missile carrier in “Diagilevo”, it was this aircraft that was to carry out the attack on Ukraine – the photo clearly shows the suspended Kh-22 cruise missile. Obviously, more than one such missile was supposed to be launched from this aircraft, but the Armed Forces struck ahead of schedule. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation confirmed the defeat of two more missile carriers, apparently of the Tu-95MS type, at the Engels-1 air base. There are no data on damage and losses, but all these planes could not take part in the missile attack on Ukraine, thus, at a critical moment, the salvo of the Russians was reduced by at least 6-12 cruise missiles. Due to the programming of the flight task, it is impossible to quickly transfer missiles from one aircraft to another. That is, the drone strike was successful – the smaller number of missiles in the volley significantly increased the efficiency of our air defense. In the development of this strike, an unknown drone struck the fuel depot at the Kursk Air Base in the morning of December 6, the Russian air defense system failed again, and the fire could not be extinguished for many hours.
3. Losses of the Russian Armed Forces: Tu-22M3 was seriously damaged, became unfit for flights and needs major repairs and replacement of the tail part. The destroyed machine is an airfield launcher APA-80, a mobile power station.
As a result of the attack on Diaghilev, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation was forced to admit the loss of aviation personnel who were preparing the missile carrier for departure – at least 3 dead and 4 wounded were recognized, their names and surnames were made public and confirmed by messages on social networks.
4. Technological success: The Diaghilev base is located 500 km from Ukraine, the Engels-1 base is approximately 700 km away. This is not the first case of a drone attack: on October 7, an unknown drone attacked Tu-22M3 strategic missile carriers at the Shaykovka air base 200 km from the border with Ukraine. There was information about the damage to two Tu-22M3s, but space images did not confirm this. However, the Russians moved their Tu-22M3 away from the borders with Ukraine – to “Diagilevo”. According to the Russians, the attack used converted Tu-141 or Tu-143 unmanned jet scouts of the USSR, which were developed in the 70s and were produced until 1989. The Russians have not yet made public any evidence of this. It is obvious that the unknown drones have become home-made weapons made in Ukraine, which is a major technological breakthrough.
5. Failure of Russian air defense: The unknown drones were not spotted and intercepted by the Russian air defense system. Judging by the damage to the aviation personnel near the plane, there was no warning about the attack at the Diaghilev base, and the military could not escape. This suggests that the majority of Russian anti-aircraft missile systems and air defense radars are concentrated at the front and have significant losses there, so the Russians do not have enough strength and are unable to build a dense defense even of their strategic objects. It is especially impressive that no fences were even built at the base of the strategic aviation of the Russian Federation, and no hangars or capons were built to protect the missile carrier, and the planes are protected by a barricade made of tires, like we have on the Maidan (this miracle is clearly visible in the photo under the wing).
6. Intelligence and application: It is obvious that the intelligence of Ukraine and NATO received information in advance about the preparation for the attack of the missile carriers, about the time and place of the launch, the exact coordinates of the location of the planes on which the cruise missiles were suspended. The Armed Forces struck in the morning in advance of the massive missile attack that took place in the evening. Planning the approach route to the target and choosing the time in this operation turned out to be absolutely accurate and made it possible to achieve surprise and complete the task. This positive experience of planners should be noted.
7. Will anyone be found guilty in the Russian Federation? Obviously not. After the 18-year-old pilot Mathias Rust flew unnoticed through the entire air defense system of the USSR in 1987 and landed on Red Square, about 200 generals and officers of the USSR Armed Forces were released and convicted. Minister of Defense Sokolov, commander of air defense forces, commander of the army, corps, division and air defense brigade resigned. But Russia is not the USSR. Clan-mafia relations here are much deeper, Defense Minister Shoigu is a personal friend of the master of the Russian Federation, Putin, and the commander of the Air and Space Forces, which includes air defense forces, General Surovikin simultaneously commands the war against Ukraine and has the support of Putin’s mafia leaders Kadyrov and Prigozhin. Therefore, there will be no punishments, although this drone strike was not the first.
8. Political and informational influence: Ukraine has shown the whole world that despite the superiority of Russia by several orders of magnitude in the number of people and combat equipment, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are able to find improvised and unexpected methods of destroying the Russian occupiers. The attack on the strategic missile carriers shows how vulnerable the Russian nuclear forces are and how weakened the defense of the Russian Federation is, which is forced to abandon all efforts to seize Ukraine. This is a great moral victory and a lesson for further actions.
Glory to the Armed Forces!
Author: Yuriy Butusov.