Invasion of Ukraine Spotted Weapon Systems and Military Vehicles
Post author By Charlie March 2, 2022
Invasion of Ukraine: Spotted Weapon Systems and
Featured Image: By Viewsridge from Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 4.0. Source.
It is still strange knowing that an invasion of Ukraine is ongoing. I for a time was confident
that it was just another of Putin’s bluffs in trying to get concessions from the West/NATO. I
slowly became less and less confident of this as I watched news come in from the various
OSINT accounts I follow on Twitter, but still felt like eventually it had to cool down,
because that’s what always happens… right? Like in April of 2021.
But alas I was wrong, very wrong. On the night before the invasion, it had become very
apparent that something was indeed seemingly going to go down and when I woke up on
the morning of the 24 February it had indeed gone down.
I remained hopeful that surely it just had to be limited to the Donbas region where the
self-proclaimed People’s Republics had declared themselves within the Luhansk and
Donetsk Oblasts (this would still be bad and wrong, but at least not full-scale). The
Donbas region has seen a limited conflict since 2014 (with obvious Russian backing)
following the revolution that overthrew the pro-Russian Government in Ukraine (and also
when Russia annexed Crimea).
But again, it became quickly apparent that it was indeed a full-scale invasion as Russian
forces entered from multiple fronts, including far beyond the Donbas region where Putin
had claimed it would be limited to.
So now here we are on day 7 of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. An assault on democracy
and freedom of its peoples, a people who have suffered many times previously from
under and against the threat of an imperialist Russia, something that stretches long back
even before Soviet times. I am still astonished at how poor the false flags were that Putin
used to justify this heinous invasion, and even despite this being exposed, including
extensively by US intelligence, Putin did not care. War has come back to Europe and it is
the biggest seen since World War II.
I must say that I am amazed how well the Ukrainian forces have held up so far. This
invasion for Putin has not been quick and easy as he had seemingly expected, again
according to Western intelligence. The people of Ukraine have not come to the side of his
occupiers, they have not been welcomed with open arms as Putin had claimed would
Instead, they have been met with fierce resistance that have slowed down Putin’s attack.
The longer this goes on for Putin the worse it is for him. But this may also be dangerous,
as the more desperate he gets, the more he may be likely to resort to more drastic
measures that could cost many more lives in Ukraine.
It seems for now Putin’s forces have attempted to take very specific targets within Ukraine
while bypassing other areas, perhaps because the operations, as Putin sees it, was
meant to be a quicker one, and strikes seem to have also been strangely limited, at least
initially. If this is indeed the case then it has surely failed in that regard.
I really do hope that Ukraine will come out on top of this but unfortunately, I do think
eventually Putin’s forces will take the capital Kyiv, and will attempt to implement a puppet
regime. But even when this comes about will it really be a victory after such initial
fumbling, and with the continuous resistance and insurgency they will surely face for
years to come afterwards?
It seems Putin may have got himself into his own endless war here. Already with the
sheer scale of Western sanctions and other measures, Russia has now become more
isolated and economically impacted then we have seen.
This in and of itself makes for a very dangerous moment and these are such things we
have not seen since the height of the Cold War. It seems the threat of nuclear
Armageddon is as real now as it was then. I remain hopeful that just as it did during the
Cold War, cooler minds will prevail and we will avoid any kind of nuclear escalation and
tragedy that could end civilization as we know it.
We must also realize that the media can often be sensationalist over certain things, and
one of those things is nuclear annihiliation or the amplification of the threat of its usage,
when in reality it is unlikely.
But with the prospect of such darkness as that put aside, this is still one of the darkest
points in modern history we have ever witnessed in our lifetime. There is still a horrible
war going on in Europe right now that is killing so many people, including so many
innocents and people who did not ask for this, and I am also sure many Russian soldiers
who also did not ask for this, this is not the fault of Russians but the fault of one single evil
man that is Vladimir Putin.
So, with my thoughts and observations aside I thought I would look into the vehicles and
weapons that are being used in this war. Both sides are using similar vehicles and
weapons, although Russia does have more modern versions of these vehicles and
weapons, and a bunch of other stuff that Ukraine does not have.
But Ukraine has also been greatly helped from the supply of weapons from NATO
countries such as the UK and US, and others have joined since such as Germany, and
even non-NATO countries such as Sweden. Ukraine forces have obtained modern anti-
tank and ground-to-air weapons such as anti-tank NLAWs and anti-air Stingers which
have likely been a massive help in slowing the advance of Putin’s forces.
Although Russia’s manpower (including its reserves) is very large, one of the largest in
the world, it still also utilises much outdated vehicles and weapons, it does, as I have
said, have more modern versions of such things, although it is possible that they are
more reluctant to use them so quickly.
Russia has the largest tank force in the world, but many of those tanks will be older ones
from Soviet times, of which they have 1000s in storage, but many such older tanks they
do use have been upgraded to a more modern standard.
Ukraine does not have as much of a capability to upgrade its older equipment and
vehicles as Russia does, although they have been upgrading things at a higher rate since
the War in the Donbas.
Russia’s active military personnel alone is over 1 million which ranks 5 in the world
behind China, North Korea, the US, and India. Its reserve personnel on the other hand is
around 2 million ranking 3 behind South Korea and Vietnam.
It is to be kept in mind that Russia had deployed just under 200k of their troops to
Ukraine’s borders before the invasion and have not yet committed all of them, according
to Western intelligence.
But the number of personnel Ukraine has is also large, which with the threat of Russia on
their doorstep is not too much of a surprise, I guess. Ukraine has around 209,000 active
personnel which is 22 largest in the world but also the largest active army of Europe
slightly ahead of France (when excluding Russia), and on top of that they have 900,000
reserves which is the 8 largest in the world and again the largest in Europe when
So, with what Putin has committed to the invasion so far, Ukraine actually has a
numerical advantage, but this does not mean too much when using outdated vehicles and
weapons (more so than Russian forces) and have a much smaller air force and navy than
Russia. Russian forces are also more experienced than Ukrainian ones, having fought in
many more conflicts abroad (although perhaps we are not seeing this come through
But even with initial successes, and being armed with things like NLAWs, Javelins and
Stingers from Western nations, and also having acquired Turkish drones, all of which
have massively helped. Ukraine remains vulnerable to air and missile attacks, of which
Russia has not yet seemed to have taken full advantage of, and Russia has a far superior
Navy, such as its Black Sea Fleet, while Ukraine only has a single warship and a number
of smaller patrol craft.
Ukraine has also become used to static warfare in the Donbas conflict since 2014,
fighting from entrenched positions akin to trenches of World War 1. Russian forces on the
other hand are more experienced in moving quickly (as we have been seeing them
attempt to do in Ukraine).
Russia has shown in the Syrian conflict how effective (and barbaric) it can be, moving
quickly across vast areas, quickly assembling pontoons to cross rivers, and mixing its
ground forces with air and drone attacks for support. Therefore, Russia has more
experience in this area of faster warfare compared to Ukraine’s more static warfare since
The Syrian conflict also allowed Russian forces to gain much experience fighting in urban
environments and Russia also used this conflict to actively test some of its newest assets
such as Su-57 fighter jets and Kalibir cruise missiles, among other weapons and
equipment throughout air, ground and naval sectors.
But even despite this Putin seems to be having some issues breaking the strong
defensive will of the Ukrainian forces who have managed to hold on to most major urban
centres targeted by Putin’s forces, whom have attempted to move in quickly but have
As I said before it could be Putin and his commanders assumed that Ukrainian forces
would collapse quicker/sooner and that they could use more limited efforts to quickly
secure areas without long-drawn out sieges or full-fledged attacks. Perhaps soon, if their
limited efforts keep failing, they may resort to more forceful incursions and measures of
which they have not implemented yet.
Such measures would certainly be much more dangerous to civilians in such areas where
they happen, many more innocents would certainly be killed. Russia has shown in both
Syria and Chechnya how ruthless it can be to get the upper hand. If things become
desperate enough, they may very well begin taking civilian safety into lesser account,
even more so if civilians continue to put up resistance as many have done, and also
those civilians who have joined the territorial defense.
Russia may decide not to discriminate between them and civilians (as that in and of itself
is difficult to do anyway). I hope that I am wrong, but I fear we may see greater number of
civilians die as the war drags on, and such will not be just ‘accidents’.
As such already on the 28 February we have seen some horrific shelling of Kharkiv with
what some suspect are cluster munitions, which if true would be a war crime to use in
civilian areas. Many civilians have apparently been killed by this, and I can say I have
seen some truly awful videos of such deaths and injuries caused by this barbaric attack of
which I shall not link here as they are very much NSFW.
I see that I have rambled on a bit more here, so let’s actually get into some of the things
we have seen being used in the conflict and some of the things that could be used (and
may already have been by the time this goes up).
Now, me determining what is being used is literally me going to OSINT sources on Twitter
and also news media elsewhere and see what exists on video from areas of combat and
operations. I will try my hardest to make sure such videos actually come from the current
conflict and are not just misinformation, of which there has been a lot of sadly.
This will not be a comprehensive and entirely complete list and there may be further
blogposts in the future to expand upon this one. Linked sources will not expose Ukrainian
Mil mi-35 Hind
Photo by Yevgeny Volkov from http://russianplanes.net. License: CC BY 3.0. Source.
One video I found appeared to show a Russian Mil mi-35 Hind that had been shot down
in Kherson Oblast. The Mil mi Hind helicopters actually go all the way back to 1972 (back
when Russia SSR was in the Soviet Union) and if you have ever played the Call of Duty
Modern Warfare series you would have seen them as the main helicopter used by the
Russians on there. It’s kind of iconic in pop culture.
The helicopter is able to target both ground and air targets with the weapons it has and
can also be used as a low-capacity troop transport and to ferry cargo. The Hind has been
exported by Russia to various other countries around the world who also use them in their
air forces and armies, 58 other countries/territories have them in operation including
former Soviet republics, and others such as Brazil, Hungary, Belarus, Cuba, Chad among
Now from what I can understand the Mil mi-35 was actually an export version of the Mil
mi-24 and so I guess the names are sometimes used interchangeably by those who are
observing events, the Mil mi-35 is a modern upgrade of the Mil mi-24V variant. The Mil-mi
35 does have improved modern upgrades over the classic Soviet Mil mi-24 Hind, the mi-
35 has been produced since 2005.
Such upgrades include an improved engine and cooling system, support for night vision,
GPS, storage batteries, friend or foe IFF system, improved avionics and digital glass
cockpit. Pretty much just systems that make the helicopter more fit for the modernised
battlefield. There are also improved target sighting systems as well as a laser rangefinder
and thermal imaging. The helicopter also has been reinforced to increase its survivability.
Rough field and hot and high capability have been improved.
The helicopter can hold up to eight fully equipped troops, or the space can also be used
to move cargo up to 1,500kg, and there is a sling mechanism that can carry a further
2,400kg load externally.
The helicopters defensive aids suite has a radar warning receiver, IR jammer, IR
suppression system, armour that protects the cockpit and other important components, as
well as chaff/flare dispensers to protect against incoming missiles.
The helicopter has an improved engine, two Klimov VK-2500 turboshaft engines, which
are less noisy and do not require as much maintenance. It can fly as fast as 310kmh,
while cruising speed is 260kmh. Maximum operation ceiling is 5,400 meters. It can ferry
out to 1,000km and has a combat radius of 460km.
Its weapons can be dedicated to a specific operation purpose or can be a mixed array of
weapons. Its weapons can include guided anti-tank missiles. Rockets it uses are either
the 80mm S-8 or 122mm S-13. It can also equip 23mm gun pods, and as standard it has
a twin-barreled 23mm cannon mounted on the chin.
The Mi-35 can operate in all-weather, day or night and in pretty much any environment.
So, if what has been shot down here is a Russian Mi-35 Hind then that is quite a big win
given it is one of Russia’s more modern helicopters.
According to the 2022 Air Forces Directory report, Russia had 328 of these helicopters
operational in their air force and 2 of them operational in their naval aviation. Ukraine on
the other hand does not have any of the newer Mi-35 helicopters.
Photo by Vitaly V. Kuzmin at http://vitalykuzmin.net. License: CC BY-SA 4.0. Source.
This video here appears to show a destroyed Russian T-80BV Tank outside of Kharkiv.
Note that some are disputing this and saying it is actually a Ukrainian T-64 Tank so we
shall also cover that next. The T-80 is a type of main battle tank that first came about
within the Soviet Union in 1976 and remains in active operation today. It is not Russia’s
most advanced main battle tank, but although it is dated those that are used have been
kept to a modern standard via upgrades.
The T-80 was the second main battle tank to use a gas turbine engine and the first to use
a primary propulsion engine. At least 9 other countries also use the T-80 tank including
Ukraine (although Ukraine has a far smaller number of them). The T-80BV variant came
about in 1985 and uses Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armour, and it includes increased
protection from attacks that come from above.
Russia did announce an upgrade kit for the T-80BV tanks in July 2016 to bring it up to a
more modern standard, which will include a modern fire control system using an optical
sight, laser range finder, thermal imager, improved energy generator, and improved
explosive reactive armour. I can only assume that these upgrades must have taken place
by this point if they are being used.
The main armament of the tank is the 125mm 2A46 smoothbore gun which can use
various types of ammunition depending on the operational requirements, including
armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot; HEAT high explosive anti-tank munitions,
including AT-8 Songster 9M112 anti-tank guided missiles with 100-4000m range; and the
HE-Frag high explosive fragmentation munitions.
The main armament is stabilized and so can be used while on the move and keep a high-
probability of hitting a target. The armament has a carousel-loading magazine which can
have up to 28 ready-to-use munitions, and 10 further pieces of ammunition can be stored
Coaxially, a 7.62mm PKT machine gun is mounted to the right of the main armament. On
the commander’s hatch is also a 12.7mm NSVT machine gun to defend against air
attacks. Finally, the tank has four 81mm smoke grenade dischargers on each side of the
The tank is operated by a crew of three, a driver in the middle of the front hull, a
commander on the right, and a gunner on the left. Welded steel makes up the hull of the
tank, while the glacis and turret have laminate compound armour. Parts of the hull and
turret also include solid steel plates. The front of the hull and the turret also has the first-
gen Kontakt explosive reactive armour. Rubberized fabric flaps on the front-bottom and
sides are to protect against shaped-charges.
The tank uses a GTD-1000TF Gas Turbine engine and can travel up to 70km/h on road
and up to 48km/h off-road. It can cruise up to a distance of 335km, or 400km if additional
fuel tanks are utilised.
There are also various systems and defensive aids such as a protection system against
nuclear, biological and chemical threats, night vision kit and also a fording kit. The tank
has self-entrenchment gear and can fit mine-clearing equipment. The tank also has
Overall Russia has around 450 T-80 tanks (with around 4000 in storage) of which around
310 are T-80BV/T-80U. Ukraine has around 340 T-80 tanks including a number of
upgraded T-80BVs, anywhere from 88-122. Ukraine had begun rapidly upgrading its T-
80s to T-80BV standard for the ongoing war in the Donbas to counter tanks used by
An upgraded T-64 Tank (Ukrainian T-64BM Bulat) being paraded in Ukraine. Photo by
Micheal – now from non-existent Picasa Web Albums. CC BY 3.0. Source.
The T-64 is Ukraines most common tank. Ukraine has around 800 of these tanks in active
service. Many, many more of these tanks are or at least were in storage. During the War
in Donbas Ukraine had created more of these tanks and upgraded others to a more
modern standard, they also have lost many T-64s to the war there.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uzbekistan use a small number of T-64 tanks
themselves. Russia do not use these tanks although it is noted they had 2,000 of them in
storage in 2014 which were planned to be destroyed, it is not confirmed if this has taken
The T-64 is described as a second-generation main battle tank which first came into
operation in 1964. At the time of its introduction, it sported revolutionary new features
such as composite armour, an engine and transmission that were more compact, and a
125mm smoothbore gun that came with an autoloading capability meaning only three
crew (rather than 4) would be required to operate it, and as such the tank could be
smaller and lighter. Although some have highlighted that only having 3 crew can
complicate and endanger maintenance duties.
One of the big setbacks for the T-64 was the price of its production, and the power pack
itself was inefficiently time consuming to build and expensive, and so eventually a
cheaper successor was created – the T-72.
It would seem Ukraine inherited a large chunk of T-64s after the Soviet Union collapsed
(probably as the main factory where they were produced was there) where it has become
its most common tank and remains in active service, where it – as said – has received
modernisation upgrades, although there are still many T-64s in Ukraine that have not yet
Ukraine originally had wanted to expand on the T-80 tanks it had inherited but a poor
economy prevented this from happening and so Ukraine chose to focus on the T-64. The
latest upgrade is known as the T-64BV model 2017, they had upgraded 150 T-64s to this
new standard by August 2019.
Upgraded versions of these tanks have incorporated passive and explosive reactive
armour; protections against nuclear, biological and chemical threats; auto fire suppression
system, the same also used by the T-84; as well as an upgraded engine. But extra
armour on the tank has made it nonetheless slow and difficult to maneuver effectively.
They will likely have a harder time taking on more modern Russian tanks in direct battle.
Bayraktar TB2 Drone
Photo by Bayhaluk from Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 4.0. Source.
The TB2 is a medium-altitude long-endurance drone of Turkish-origin with offensive strike
capability. It is unmanned and can utilise autonomous or remote-control flight. The drone
is advanced and modern and took its first flight in 2014.
Their usage by Azerbaijan against Armenian forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh War in
2020 proved strategically pivotal and devastating. It is reported Azerbaijan only had 10 of
the drones, but that they were used to destroy at least 567 Armenian military vehicles,
artillery pieces, and air defense systems.
It seems many times the drones managed to evade Armenian air defenses, and it is
reported they only managed to shoot a couple of them down, and attempted electronic
countermeasures against the drones failed to be effective.
At least 10 other countries operate these drones including Azerbaijan and Turkey itself,
and Niger and Iraq have also ordered these drones as well. Countries that have them
include Poland, Morroco, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar and others, a number of other
countries are considering ordering the drone. Russia does not use them as they have
their own drones.
It is also speculated that Turkey supplied some of these drones to Ethiopian forces who
have possibly used them to strike TPLF forces in the Tigray War, and may potentially play
a role in turning the tide of that conflict in which Ethiopia had been performing poorly in.
It is clearly one of Turkey’s most successful exports of military technology.
This video here appears to show it being used by Ukrainian forces to destroy some
Russian vehicles. I have seen a number of videos that seem to show Ukraine having
great success via using these drones to strike Russian vehicle columns and logistics,
which would certainly be playing a role in slowing their advance. With them still seeming
to be active in the sky also goes to show that Russia has not yet obtained superiority of
Ukraine’s skies, despite their varied claims to the contrary.
The Ukraine air force had a small number of these drones and had ordered dozens more,
it is unclear how many of them arrived before the invasion, but Forbes reported in an
article on 8 February that they have approximately 20 of them. Nonetheless the number
they do currently field seem to be helping significantly.
The drone utilises a camera to enable the operators to see what’s going on and also
means they can be used for vital reconnaissance as well as a lethal striker. The drone is
operated by a three-person crew from a remote ground control station. The drone can
carry smart micro munition guided missiles that can destroy tanks and which can go as
far as 80 miles in line-of-sight mode.
The Forbes article argued that Russia should have an easier time countering these
drones than Armenia did as they have more and better air defenses and electronic
A Russian state media source claimed to have shot two of the drones down on Thursday
when the invasion first took place, although this has not been confirmed. The Forbes
article did note that Russia has had some limited struggles in dealing with swarms of
more rudimentary drones used by IS and rebel groups in Syria.
The article also postulated that Russian cruise missiles could or should have taken out a
majority of these drones before they even left the ground prior to an invasion beginning,
although as we saw such strikes seemed to be oddly limited, although we likely won’t
know the true full extent until much later.
It seems that at least a number of these drones are still operational and causing big
issues for Russia, at least during these initial stages. It is unknown why Russia has not
seemed to have taken more actions against the threat from these drones, despite it being
largely speculated that they could easily handle them. It could be they have taken many
of them down but such proof has not surfaced yet.
9K33 OSA Surface-to-Air Missile System
Photo by Vitaly V. Kuzmin at http://vitalyku License: CC BY-SA 4.0. Source.
One odd video from this OSINT account claims that a Ukrainian farmer used his tractor to
tow away an abandoned Russian surface-to-air missile system. Whether this is entirely
true or the actual context is tough to be entirely sure on.
The 9K33 Osa, also called the SA-8 Gecko by NATO, is a surface-to-air missile system
for use against low-altitude aircraft at short range, the system is highly mobile. The
system is another from Soviet times and first came into operation in 1971.
Despite its age it continues to be actively used by a number of countries and in various
wars, including the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War and the war in Syria. For Armenia the
system was not very effective against the previously mentioned TB2 drones, they did
shoot down an Azerbaijani Sukhoi-25 fighter jet using the system.
The purpose of the system can fit a number of operational requirements, including the
defense of marching troops or troops in mobile combat, and the defense of strategic
Russia has hundreds of these systems and have also naturally upgraded them to more
modern standards. At least 21 other countries also use the system including Ukraine and
Belarus. It is unclear how many Ukraine has but I think we can say they have less than
Russia and probably not upgraded to as high a standard. Upgrades to the system have
improved its design, extended the range, and have incorporated IFF antennas.
It was the first system of its kind to include its own engagement radars on the vehicle
itself. Armedforces.co.uk says that all versions of the system use all-in-one 9A33 TELAR
vehicles that can detect, track and engage aircraft either independently or by taking
advantage of regimental surveillance radars. The vehicle can travel up to 500km on road
but can also be transported by air and even has full amphibious capability.
The system holds up to six ready-to-fire missiles at one time and includes various other
systems that track the missile after a launch. The system is operated by a crew of five.
Photo by Vitaly V. Kuzmin at http://vitalyku License: CC BY-SA 4.0. Source.
The Iskander-M is the first and original variant (used by Russia) of the 9K72 Iskander, a
mobile short-range ballistic missile system with a range of 400-500km. A video here
appears to show one being used and presumes they were fired by Russian forces from
The system is only in the hands of two other countries, Armenia and Algeria, who field
smaller numbers of export variants. Russia planned to have 120 Iskanders by 2016 and
so it is possible they may have more than that by this point.
Iskander systems are modern having come into operation in 2006 and aim to succeed the
OTR-21 Tochka and other older systems. The vehicle used by the system (the road-
mobile TEL) can hold up to two missiles. Several different warheads can be used on the
missiles that are fired by the Iskander including cluster munitions, fuel-air explosive
enhanced blast (thermobaric) warhead, and high-explosive fragmentation warheads.
Usage of cluster munitions and thermobaric weapons in areas close to civilians (such as
urban environments) are considered war crimes due to their extremely destructive, cruel
and devastating nature, the collateral damage caused is unavoidable. The system is also
able to use nuclear warheads as well.
So, as can be seen, the systems can fit varying operational requirements depending on
what is being targeted, as well as for short-range nuclear brinkmanship. The Iskander-M
specifically uses quasi-ballistic missiles that are able to change course during flight in an
effort to avoid countermeasures attempting to knock the missile out before it hits.
Decoys are also used to confuse countermeasures. The system utilises both inertial and
optical guidance systems.
The Iskander-K is a newer variant designed for the usage of cruise missiles with a range
of at least 500km according to Russian news sources, but there is also speculation that
its range could be extended as far as 2,000km. Export Iskander’s, such as those given to
Armenia, are known as Iskander-Es. The export version has less range and also cannot
hold as large of warheads when compared to Russia’s own Iskander-M.
The Iskander’s seem to for now only to be used from areas bordering Ukraine such as
Belarus and so it is unlikely that Ukraine will be able to target them directly or capture any,
as that would require them to go on the offense beyond Ukraine, which would stretch their
forces further beyond what they already are from defensive and offensive operations
within Ukraine against offending forces of Putin.
Although, some sources have claimed that Ukraine forces have conducted possible
small-scale strikes against Russian airfields close to Ukraine’s borders, but it is not
Kalibr Cruise Missile
Photo by Allocer from Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0. Source.
Speaking of cruise missiles, this OSINT account has said that the missile that struck an
administrative building in Kharkiv (on 1 March), which sadly killed civilians and is being
considered a war crime, was possibly a Kalibr Cruise Missile.
The 3M-54 Kalibr is a family of cruise missiles used by Russia which can be launched
from ships, submarines, and aircraft, and can be used to attack enemy ships, submarines
and targets on land. The 3M-54 Kalibr cruise missiles have been in operation through a
number of different variants since 1994 and so are relatively modern and post-Soviet.
Algeria, India, Vietnam and China are known to have obtained Kalibr cruise missiles.
These export versions have shorter ranges compared to Russia’s domestic variants.
Some variants of the cruise missile utilise a supersonic second propulsion stage in an
effort to bypass defense systems, while other subsonic versions have a greater range.
Ranges of the cruise missiles vary greatly depending on the types used, for Russia it can
vary from 600-4,500km ranges. The cruise missiles can also fit different types of
warheads dependent on operational requirement.
The 3M14 Kalibr Cruise Missile is a land attack variant used by Russia with an estimated
range of 1,500-2,500km. This variant is used by the Russian Navy and so is launched
from the sea either by a ship or submarine that is capable of doing so. This variant is one
of the more modern and has been in operation since 2015.
As can be seen the missiles can be very destructive and cause widespread damage even
beyond any areas that are precisely targeted and so using them within urban areas is
extremely risky and is likely to incur civilian casualties.
Such missiles should only be used against high-value and isolated military targets in an
effort to best avoid civilians. Usage against an administrative building is senseless and
serves little purpose but to cause needless death and suffering.
Photo by Vitaly V. Kuzmin at http://vitalyku License: CC BY-SA 4.0. Source.
This video claims to show a Russian BTR-82A which is an advanced 8×8 armoured
personnel carrier that has amphibious capability. This variant is part of a vast series of
BTRs with the BTR-82A being one of the most modernised variants with its first prototype
revealed in December 2009.
According to Army-technology the vehicles are also being produced for export to
Kazakhstan as well, and some have also apparently been delivered to Azerbaijan in
2013, not long after production of the vehicles had begun seemingly. Another recent
article I found from 2021 also said that Belarus have received a number of them as well.
Ukraine does not have any BTR-82As.
The new BTR includes increased protection and comfort, requires three crew to operate
and can hold an additional seven troops. The BTR uses a 30mm dual-feed automatic
cannon as its main armament, the cannon can fire different munitions dependent on the
operational requirement which includes armour piercing tracer projectiles; high-explosive
fragmentation-incendiary munitions; and high-explosive tracers.
For a secondary armament the BTR uses a coaxial 7.62mm PKTM machine gun. And
there are three 81mm smoke grenade launchers on each side.
The BTR has various systems such as a TKN-4GA day/night fire control system;
advanced communications and topographic maps; a TKN-AI surveillance camera with
laser range finder; R-168-25-U2 radio station; and night vision systems. Navigation is
complemented by the Trona-1 topographic orientation system which integrates with the
BTRs GPS and satellite navigation systems.
When it comes to protection of the vehicle it uses Kevlar laminated synthetic material for
ballistic protection. The vehicle also has a reinforced floor to protect against mines and
improvised explosive devices. Energy-absorbing suspension and spall liners within the
vehicle aim to protect the crew from explosions. There is also a protection system against
nuclear, biological and chemical threats.
The BTR-82A is able to travel up to 100km/h via road and can travel up to a range of
600km using a KAMAZ 740.14-300 turbo diesel engine.
Photo from Russian MoD. CC BY-SA 4.0. Source.
This video here seems to show a Russian electronic warfare system getting a molotov
cocktail lobbed at it from a car driving by. Authorities in Ukraine have urged its citizens to
create molotov cocktails to use to perform civil disobedience against Russian military
vehicles attempting to occupy cities.
The system in question is being called an R-330BMV Borisoglebsk-2 which is an
armoured amphibious carrier that contains the electronic warfare system. The
Borisoglebsk-2 was developed between 2004-2010 but was not adopted by Russia until
2015, and so it is another modern piece of military equipment.
The purpose of electronic warfare is to impede the opponent’s ability by disrupting
equipment within the electromagnetic spectrum, such as communication and GPS
devices for example, and can also be used to disrupt things like cruise missiles, radio-
controlled land mines, radars, and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Such disruption enables advantages on the battlefield as it can cause confusion and
panic within forces it is targeting, as they can be left blind in areas the electronic warfare
is targeting, and also the defensive benefits on top of that, considering that it is successful
and not countered.
Such systems can also be used for reconnaissance of radio communications.
Russia’s electronic warfare ability is believed to be quite advanced, even to the point
where it could be challenging for more advanced NATO forces to handle, let alone
Ukraine. The Borisoglebsk-2 itself is thought to be one of Russia’s most advanced
electronic warfare systems.
It is not known how many Russia currently have but it would not appear to be in the 100s.
Although Ukraine does have some older but effective electronic warfare systems of
Russian origin, they do not have the Borisoglebsk-2.
The Borisoglebsk-2 itself seems to have a focus on radio intelligence gathering and can
also utilise the ability to disrupt radio communications. It apparently works with various
types of radios including HF, UHF, terrestrial and aircraft radio channels, mobile terminals
and trunked radios on tactical and operational-tactical command levels. I am not going to
pretend I know what any of that means, but it sounds pretty advanced.
(1) (2) (3)
Photo by Kirill Borisenko from Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 4.0. Source.
Earlier I mentioned thermobaric weapons when looking into the Iskander. Well, the TOS-
1A MRLS is another system that is able to use such dreaded weapons as well. This post
here claims that one of Russia’s TOS-1A MRLS was captured by Ukrainian forces.
Of course, this cannot be fully confirmed, but if it were to be true it would certainly be a
significant capture of a fairly advanced system. It is not impossible as such systems have
been caught on camera entering Ukraine as the invasion begun (1), unlike Iskanders
which have remained in bordering areas.
Russia has been accused of using a thermobaric weapon in Ukraine during the invasion,
although again it is not fully confirmed if they have. There are some videos out there that
show footage of massive mushroom-cloud-like explosions that could possibly be
thermobaric, but could also just be ammo depots exploding from being struck by other
The TOS-1 is called a heavy flamethrower system (but this can be misleading) as it is
a multiple rocket launching system that first came about in 1988 during the Soviet Union.
They are 220mm systems with either 30 or 24-barrels, the TOS-1A variant has 24-barrels.
The purpose of the system was to strike fortified positions and light armoured vehicles
and transports, more so in open terrain.
The TOS-1 have been given to several other countries such as Algeria, Azerbaijan, and
Armenia. Iraq, Kazakhstan and Syria also have small numbers of them as well. Saudi
Arabia was also given a license to produce TOS-1A’s. Russia itself is thought to have a
few dozen TOS-1As and also some newer TOS-2s that entered service in December
2021. Ukraine does not have these systems (although you could possibly count 1 if the
capture claim is truth).
The TOS-1A was the latest version of the system before the TOS-2 was developed. The
TOS-1A is itself modern and post-Soviet version that has been operational since 2003.
The multiple rocket system is fitted to the chassis of a T-72 tank. The TOS-1A is thought
to have a long range of up to 6,000 meters. The TOS-1A is very effective against things
like caves, bunkers, tunnels, emplacements, entrenched positions, ships and buildings,
as well as lightly armoured and soft-skinned vehicles, and against manpower.
Thermobaric weapons, also called vacuum bombs, use oxygen from the surrounding air
to generate a high-temperature explosion and a very powerful blast (more so than
conventional explosives) that lasts for a longer duration.
There is little shelter, protection or escape from such weapons, a 2011 edition of the US
Army Training and Doctrine Command’s unclassified World Equipment Guide says the
pressure/vacuum surges cause a rippling effect on soft materials, including human lung
tissue. Walls and surfaces that are affected will not necessarily protect people but may
actually cause multiple pressure waves that amplify tearing effects and can lead to
The secondary effect that follows this violent stage is high-temperature heat anywhere
from 2,000-3,500 degrees C. Even an incomplete explosion is still near-devastating, will
still affect a wide area and cause a long-duration high-temperature flame. The effects also
go beyond the blast area itself, causing debilitating mental and physical trauma. I think
you can understand why using these weapons, especially within urban areas, is barbaric
and amounts to a war crime.
The biggest fear is Putin may use it to crush resistance movements in populated areas.
Photo by Vitaly V. Kuzmin at http://vitalyku License: CC BY-SA 4.0. Source.
This OSINT account here appears to show a Russian Pantsir-S1 on fire after having been
hit by something. The Pantsir is a family of missile systems that include self-propelled,
medium-range surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery systems.
The Pantsir-S1 is actually the first of this series and the family as a whole is modern and
post-Soviet (although development begun during Soviet times for replacement of the
2K22 Tunguska air defense system) and have been produced since the early/mid 2000s.
A number of other countries have been given Pantsir systems from Russia including
Algeria, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Serbia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates to
name some of them. Ukraine was not supplied with any themselves although may have
the possible opportunity of capturing/salvaging some during the invasion.
The Pantsir-S1 has a 20km range and up to 10km in altitude and uses 20kg high-
explosive fragmentation warheads (the 57E6 missile), a baseline system can hold 12
missiles and also has two 30mm 2A38M cannons, allowing it to engage up to four targets
at the same time. The 57E6 missile is a two-stage missile with radio-command guidance.
The purpose of the Pantsir is defend ground forces and longer ranged air defense
systems from air attacks. The Pantsir is able to intercept tactical aircraft, unmanned aerial
vehicles, and precision-guided munitions, such as subsonic cruise missiles and high-
speed air-to-ground missiles. Its solid-state search radar is able to track up to twenty
aircraft within a 32-36km range.
Minimum engagement range is 1.5km. The Pantsir’s cannons can engage air targets up
to 4km away and up to 3km in altitude, firing 40-rounds per second, if needed these
cannons can also be used to engage ground forces.
Selection of targets involves a high-frequency engagement radar or optional thermal
imaging sensor. Pantsirs are able to operate independently, but are usually accompanied
by at least six launcher vehicles and sometimes a command-and-control vehicle.
Sukhoi-27 Fighter Jet
Image in the Public Domain.
Finally, we shall round this post off with the Sukhoi-27. During the beginning of the
invasion one of Ukraine’s Sukhoi-27 fighter jets flew out of the country and was
intercepted by the Romanian air force and landed in the country. It seems that this
Sukhoi-27 has now been escorted back into Ukraine according to this Romanian aviation
The Sukhoi Su-27 is a fighter jet of Soviet origin and were introduced in 1985. It is used
by a number of former Soviet countries such as Ukraine. Russia also still uses them as
well (although has more advanced fighter jets), but the Su-27s it does have were being
upgraded via a modernisation programme.
China, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Indonesia, Vietnam and Mongolia are some others that also use
Sukhoi-27s. Even the US managed to get their hands on a few of them which they use for
The Sukhoi-27 is a twin-engine supermaneuverable fighter jet with air-to-air and air-to-
ground offensive capability and was a direct competitor to the US fourth-generation fighter
jets such as Grumman F-14 Tomcats and F-15 Eagles. A number of upgraded variants of
the Sukhoi-27 exist (Sukhoi-30 through to Sukhoi-37).
According to the 2022 World Air Forces report by flightglobal, Russia has 350 Sukhoi-
27/30/35s as well as a further 125 Sukhoi-34s, and within its naval aviation it has a further
32 Sukhoi-27/30s, it also uses another 38 Sukhoi-27s for training purposes. Ukraine only
has 26 Sukhoi-27s.
The aircraft is flown by a single pilot and its purpose is to provide air superiority. The
aircraft can operate autonomously while in combat over hostile territory, where it may
escort deep-penetration strike craft and help to suppress enemy airfields.
For Ukraine they will pretty much just be used for defense of their territorial skies,
although the small number they have and the more advanced fighter jets and air defense
systems of Russia means that such aircraft probably will not last long, but the legend of
the Ghost of Kyiv lives on to boost morale nonetheless.
The fighter jet’s weapons include a 30mm GSh-301 gun which holds 150 rounds of
ammunition. Missiles, bombs, and rockets can also be mounted externally on to ten
available hardpoints. Detection and tracking are provided via systems such as infrared
searching and tracking; a laser rangefinder; radar; and a helmet-mounted target
Air-to-air missiles can include the R-27R1 missiles which are all-aspect medium-range
missiles that include semi-active radar homing. Another rocket is the R-27T1 which has
infrared homing and a range from 500m up to 60km. The R-73E rocket is meant for closer
combat from 300m up to 20km.
Air-to-ground weapons can include freefall aerial bombs, incendiary devices, RBK cluster
bombs, and unguided aerial missiles.
The Sukhoi-27 may also includes electronic countermeasures; pilot illumination radar
warning receiver; chaff and infrared decoy dispensers; and active multi-mode jammer.
It is to be noted that some of the things mentioned here may not exist or be used on
That shall do it for this post. It is a terrible situation which is currently going on and my
thoughts are with the people of Ukraine.