One country is keeping Putin’s desperate bombing campaign alive

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty

Vladimir Putin We are running out of missiles and looking to Iran for a solution.As Attack on Kyiv on Monday Russia’s stockpile of advanced systems is fading at the show of Iran-supplied drones. Tehran provided hundreds of drones over the summer, report from Washington Post It indicates that the new shipment will include ballistic missiles with ranges from 200 to 450 miles.

No Mystery Why Russia Misses Missiles: Russia Last Week Fired a barrage of missiles Drones against civilians across Ukraine.A few Estimate Putin claims the attack cost as much as $700 million, even though Russia’s production of missiles and other weapons is struggling in the face of Western sanctions.

Much like drones, Iran has invested in missile programs for decades in the face of severe sanctions.According to his 2019 from the Defense Intelligence Agency report Regarding Iran’s armed forces, Iran has the largest missile force in the Middle East, with substantial inventories of short-range ballistic missiles (CRBM), short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM), and medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBM). there is Strike targets…up to 2,000 kilometers from Iranian borders. ”

Iranian missiles will boost Russia’s options, but aid is also going to Ukraine. Last Tuesday, the Biden administration hurry up Delivery of advanced air defense systems to Ukraine. France, Germany and the UK have also committed to anti-aircraft systems.

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The United States and others have sent various types of air defense weapons to Ukraine, but for now President Biden is primarily prioritizing the deployment of the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System known as NASAMS. Unlike shoulder-mounted missiles like the Stinger and old Soviet-era missiles, NASAMS systems are sufficiently advanced. important Missions such as defending the White House and the Pentagon. NASAMS certainly helps defend Ukraine’s airspace from Russian aircraft and missiles, but sending NASAMS a few more times won’t be enough to prevent another attack on civilian centers across the country.

Protecting Ukraine from missile and drone attacks presents two challenges. On the one hand, if Ukraine wants to intercept all Russian missiles and drones, Ukraine needs to cover the width of its front line and civilians. Russia’s potential attack path, including its border with Belarus and its southern coastline, is hundreds of miles long. Protecting the entire region would require a vast array of NASAMS-like systems to reasonably intercept anything Russia puts in the air.

Another problem is that Russian strikes tend to use multiple missiles or drones at once. This means that Ukraine needs not only air defenses sufficient to cover large areas, but also air defenses sufficient to shoot down superior missiles and drones. Before the drone hits the target. To make matters worse, Ukraine currently lacks air defense systems and will continue to do so even after NASAMS start arriving.

The Ukrainian military faces a difficult choice. Spread your air defenses thin to partially protect everyone, or concentrate your air defenses to fully protect your front lines and urban areas like Kyiv. Given Putin’s willingness to strike civilian targets outside of major cities, it will be difficult to predict where Russia will target next.

Russia’s Iran-provided drones are even more complicated.News that Russia was buying Iranian drones leaked During the summer and since, Russia has launched attacks against military and civilian targets. The particular model of drone used for the attack, the Shahed-136, is extremely long-range and much cheaper than missiles, which creates challenges. Estimate As low as $20,000 to $30,000 per unit.Since the drone is a one-way attack, it can only be used once, but the Ukrainian government has since claimed Iran has sent more than 2,000 men to the Russian army. 2,000 may be an exaggeration, but the hundreds of drones and possible future deliveries pose a serious threat to Ukraine in the short term.

Iranian drones alone are not as dangerous as missiles, but they can be launched in large numbers and could degrade Ukraine’s air defenses over time. Systems like NASAMS can shoot down one or two missiles outright, but shooting down groups of cheap drones several times a month will start depleting their limited missile inventories, prompting Russia and Iran to It can be difficult to concentrate on countering the larger, more capable missiles of the Iranian drones have never been used against countries that specifically use NASAMS, but countries like Saudi Arabia often face a shortage of anti-aircraft missiles to defend themselves. airspace From an Iranian drone.

Other air defense systems better suited to shooting down drones are unevenly progressing.France announced They’re sending Crotale air defense systems, but they don’t say when or how many. announced They would send a system like vampire A few months ago. However, these are not expected to arrive in the next few months, and since VAMPIRE is a new system, it is not clear if it will be able to rush to Ukraine as quickly as systems like NASAMS.

Iran’s aid to Putin would certainly help attack Ukraine, but there are limits to what Iran can offer. You may be willing to empty your warehouse at certain times of the year. Tehran has a large stockpile of missiles and drones, which are key to Iran’s deterrence and efforts to supply regional agents and partners. Starting to threaten Iran’s more pressing priorities by backing Russia could slow delivery to Russia or consist of older platforms.

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