Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Russia deploys Iskander systems with extended-range missiles to Ukrainian border

Russian Armed Force is reportedly deploying its Iskander (NATO Reporting name: SS-26 Stone) missile systems with R-500 extended-range ground-launched cruise missiles in areas near Voronezh, which’s 250 kilometers away from the border with Ukraine’s Kharkiv and Luhansk regions.

Open-source intelligence specialist at Janes Thomas Bullock identified Russian Iskander missile systems that have moved or are moving to the Ukrainian area of operations since late March through open-source intelligence.

Thomas Bullock posted a Janes article from 8 April that said he identified the deployment of Iskander short-range ballistic missile systems, likely belonging to the 119 Missile Brigade, to Voronezh from the Sverdlovsk region.

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“Since late March, Russia has been identified moving large quantities of military equipment to its Ukrainian border, specifically the Crimea, Voronezh, and Rostov regions,” said in the article.

Also, Thomas has released footage showing the moving of military convoy in Voronezh that includes Iskander missile systems.

A video, that he found on Russian social media, showing Iscander transporter erector launchers, or TELs, with 111 and 121 numbers. Such numbers were at similar TELs of Iskander-K systems which were spotted in previously released photos and video by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

Iskander-K is the latest variant in the Iskander series of missiles. The missile system is equipped with two types (9M728 and 9M729) of extended-range ground-launched cruise missiles.

Russia says that the Iskander cruise missile has a range of just less than 300 miles, at the same time, military analysts stressed that they can have a range of more than 3000 km similar to ship-based Caliber- analog.

Russian official sources claim that the R-500 missile carries a conventional 500 kg warhead or nuclear warhead with a yield of around 10-50 kT. It is likely that there are several different conventional warheads, including cluster, fuel-air explosive, and bunker-busting. The missile can overcome enemy air defense systems while offering high-probability of failure-free operation in countermeasures environments. It has a target accuracy of 5m to 7m and operates even in fog or low visibility.

Iskander is a tactical missile system designed to be used in theater-level conflicts. The Russian modern mobile missile system can engage ground targets such as command posts and communications nodes, troops in concentration areas, air and missile defense facilities, as well as fixed and rotary-wing aircraft at airfields.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
U.S. defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.

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