All orders on this subject have been issued
President Zelensky declined to comment on the Ukrainian helicopters' attack on the Belgorod oil depot. One of the versions is that Zelensky was simply not informed about this operation, which the United States and NATO probably had a hand in. So, new similar attacks on objects in the depths of our territory are not ruled out? Are, for example, nuclear power plants or the Crimean bridge protected from them? How are these facilities protected from air strikes? MK is talking about this with the ex-chief of the anti-aircraft missile forces of the Special Forces Command (Moscow Air Defense District), reserve colonel Sergei Khatylev.
Photo: Pavel Kolyadin.
– At nuclear power plants and facilities that are classified as special facilities – the so-called “SO”, there are already stationary protection, as well as reconnaissance and fire cover systems, – the expert explains. – There is no need to re-create anything. Everything already exists. Belgorod – and it's no secret – is not included in the list of industrial centers, which should be covered by the air defense system in a special order. At medium and high altitudes, everything is blocked there by the S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft missile regiments stationed nearby, as well as the military air defense brigade with Buk complexes. But in this case we are talking specifically about extremely low altitudes. But this is a completely different story.
After the start of the special operation, several S-400 regiments were moved to the border with Ukraine. Their radars cover almost the entire territory of Ukraine, providing a no-fly zone over it at medium and high altitudes. But in order to create it at low altitudes, you need a powerful electronic intelligence system, which must be conducted around the clock.
– Very expensive. There are also organizational moments. For example, since Soviet times, the idea has been discussed that military air defense, which is precisely responsible for low and ultra-low altitudes, should be part of a large unified air defense system. Perhaps, after the special operation is over, some organizational decisions will finally be made based on the combat experience gained.
– That's right, the bridge is covered from air strikes. Several S-400 regiments are deployed in Crimea. This is – a lot, they cover the peninsula all around.
– There are complexes “Pantsir” for these purposes. This is – securely. In addition, air defense tasks have also been assigned to the fleet. The entire Black Sea Fleet, all ships are provided with air defense systems, including systems that can cover these facilities and operate on the high seas. There is a powerful military grouping in Crimea, a whole army corps. It also has all the means of air defense.
– They can. You understand, Crimea is a local territory, everything is there, everything is concentrated, everything works.
– No, of course not. Vice versa. All important objects are covered. But to create a continuous zone of anti-aircraft missile fire at low altitudes – no army in the world can solve such a problem. No one has such forces and means. But I can say that now, after what happened in Belgorod, measures will certainly be taken.
First, electronic intelligence will be strengthened. Low-altitude platoons will come out, look, and calculate in which directions low-altitude targets can operate, after which the radio engineering troops will redistribute their stations and add something for sure.
Secondly, fighter aircraft will be involved in combat duty. And not only at airfields, but also in the air, so that you can immediately detect and destroy a low-altitude target. And our fighter aviation has such capabilities.
– Definitely. The teams are gone. All instructions on this subject have been issued. Part of the forces and means will be allocated specifically for the fight against low-altitude targets.
– Once again: flew at low altitudes. I know this area very well. This is a hilly terrain, riverbeds. There, a helicopter descends over a hillock, flies along the riverbed, and no one sees it. Only an air observer can see him, and then only a few seconds.
– An air observer is usually located in a company or in a separate division. He can visually observe the flight of an object at a distance of up to eight kilometers. This is called a visual observation post. An old forgotten practice, when during a period of high combat readiness, the air situation is monitored with eyes, binoculars, stereo tubes. And this practice should be remembered now.
Oil depot in Belgorod caught fire after shelling from helicopters: fire footage
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