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Ukraine claims destruction of two Russian Buk-M3 air defense missile systems

On February 23, 2024, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces announced that Ukrainian missile units had successfully destroyed two Russian Buk-M3 air defense missile systems in the last 24 hours. However, this announcement was not accompanied by any images confirming these actions. The targets hit also reportedly included a Russian control point, three artillery systems, and an ammunition storage point.
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Russian Buk-M3 air defense missile system (Picture source: Vitaly Kuzmin)

As a reminder, the Ukrainian Armed Forces had already revealed the destruction of two of the latest generation Buk-M3 air defense missile systems near Svitlodarsk, in the Donetsk region, through a video published on Telegram on September 17, 2023. These actions highlight the Ukrainian forces' capability to neutralize key elements of Russian air defense.

The Buk-M3 air defense missile system, developed by the Soviet Union and later by the Russian Federation, represents the most advanced variant of the Buk missile system family. Designed to counter a wide range of aerial threats such as cruise missiles, guided bombs, fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles, the Buk-M3 incorporates advanced electronic components and the ability to track and engage multiple targets simultaneously.

Notable improvements of the Buk-M3 over its predecessors include a tracked chassis equipped with seven rollers and the capacity to carry six missiles in launch tubes. The system uses the 9S18 "Tube Arm" or 9S18M1 (NATO reporting name "Snow Drift") target acquisition radar, with a maximum detection range of 85 km, and the 9S35 or 9S35M1 "Fire Dome" radar for missile guidance and tracking. The Buk-M3 is also distinguished by its rapid reloading capabilities, essential for maintaining an effective air defense during coordinated attacks.

These recent destructions of Buk-M3 systems by Ukraine not only signal the vulnerability of these advanced systems in modern conflict but also underscore the strategic importance of electronic warfare and countermeasures. As the conflict continues to unfold, the Ukrainian forces' ability to adapt and respond to Russian aerial threats remains a key element of their defense strategy.


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