Thursday, November 10, 2022

20 Minutes to Kherson: What the Battle for the South Looks Like; Western Air-Defence Systems Help Ukraine Shoot Down More Missiles; NASAMS and Aspide Anti-Aircraft Systems Arrive in Ukraine; Russia Pulls Commander in Ukraine Following Criticism Over Battlefield Losses, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Byron Smith
20 minutes to Kherson: What the battle for the south looks like:
The low November sun slips in and out of the clouds near the regional border between Kherson and Mykolaiv.
The last of the autumn leaves, the color of rust and flame, blow across the barren field as a handful of Ukrainian soldiers climb a small tree and go at it with a chainsaw.
They want the branches as camouflage for their dark-green Grad multiple rocket launcher, parked just behind the tree line. Its attendant civilian-grade command SUV, which carries the officer in charge, the targeting specialist and the medic, sits just nearby.
Almost every day, this team is given a target, told to drive into range, calculate the shot, unleash a barrage of rockets and get out of there before return fire comes flying in. As they wait for the call, we can hear the dull booming of both sides’ weapons in the distance.
"Everything is very simple: we get information on a target, the senior officer does all the calculations on a tablet using a special program, selects a firing position, we go to that position, we do our work and get out of there, so we're not intercepted," says Ihor, callsign Raven, who commands the Grad launcher itself. Troops have not been identified by full name for their safety on and off the battlefield.
Occasionally they work with drone support, which lets them correct their fire in real time and get a video showing how they did.
“It’s very nice to see your targets burned down,” says Raven. --->LOTS MORE HERE
Western air-defence systems help Ukraine shoot down more missiles:
FLYING FIGHTER jets in Ukraine’s air force is punishing work, says Juice. “You have to be ready to go at any time, in any conditions,” says the pilot, who asked to be identified by his call sign. When the alarm sounds, Juice has only a few minutes to grab his equipment, jump into the cockpit, rev up his MiG-29 and take off. Because the Russians often attack at night, he wears his flight suit to bed. The worst part, however, is spending hours in the sky chasing missiles or drones only for each of them to elude you. “Then after landing you open your smartphone, and you see explosions in Kyiv, or explosions in other cities, and you weren’t able to save these lives,” he says. “Or you land on your base and there is no electricity there, because a Russian cruise missile destroyed a power station.”
On October 31st, as Russia unleashed a swarm of missiles against Ukraine, Juice was in the air once again. Flying near a large city (he cannot say which one), he repeatedly locked onto a Russian cruise missile. There was one problem. The Soviet-era R-27 missiles his plane carries are unable to track their target on their own. Instead, they require the aircraft to keep it in a radar lock until impact. If the lock fails, the R-27 risks looking for other targets, including buildings. “That’s why it’s too dangerous over a city. You’re responsible for all the lives on the ground,” says Juice. He had a few good chances, but he never fired. Juice relayed his target to the nearby ground air defence, landed his plane and hoped for the best.
Over the past month alone, Russian cruise missiles and Iranian-made Shahed-136 loitering munitions, or kamikaze drones, have killed two dozen people and damaged up to 40% of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. The country is getting better at knocking them out of the sky. On October 10th, nearly half of the missiles and drones Russia launched against Ukraine dodged the country’s defences; explosions rocked Kyiv for the first time in months. Less than a month later, Ukraine claims to be shooting down over 80% of the drones and missiles heading its way. Of the 55 missiles Russia lobbed at Ukraine on October 31st, the day Juice scrambled, 45 were intercepted, according to Ukraine’s air force. But there is a real risk that if Ukraine’s stock of anti-aircraft ammunition runs out, Russian missiles will get through in large numbers, and Russian warplanes, kept at bay since the spring, may return in force.
New weapons from Western allies are helping. In early October, Ukraine received an advanced IRIS-T system from Germany. Three more are on the way. The one deployed has so far shot down every projectile in its path, the Ukrainians say. An S-300 battery delivered earlier this year from Slovakia has been remarkably effective as well. And on November 7th, Ukraine’s defence minister confirmed the country had received two NASAMS systems, developed by Kongsberg, a Norwegian aerospace company, and Raytheon, an American one. Conversations with Ukrainian officials suggest the NASAMS have already been on the ground for some time. America is trying to speed up delivery of six more. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++NASAMS and Aspide anti-aircraft systems arrive in Ukraine+++++

+++++WSJ: Russia Pulls Commander in Ukraine Following Criticism Over Battlefield Losses+++++

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