Ukrainian digital altered F-16 emerges; Russia boosts missile output

The announcement from the Russian Ministry of Protection [RuMoD] speaks on Kalashnikov Concern’s plan to double the manufacturing of Kitolov-2 shells, Strela anti-aircraft missiles, and Vikhr-1 guided missiles. This transfer is occurring within the backdrop of Ukraine’s ongoing negotiations to buy F-16 Preventing Falcons.

Photograph credit score: Reddit

In line with RIA Novosti, the Russian state information company, the Protection Ministry has flagged the necessity for anti-aircraft-guided missiles to the corporate’s executives. The protection minister emphasised the necessary position of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, promising that they’d supply strong safety to all key financial and infrastructure property. This contains oil, gasoline, and refining sectors, which will likely be safeguarded with the assistance of those missiles.


The 9M333 Strela anti-aircraft missiles are able to focusing on a various vary of objects, from drones and cruise missiles to low-flying plane and helicopters, even amidst optical jamming. The Strela-10M number of air protection methods offers environment friendly safety for floor forces from air assaults and reconnaissance actions at a number of altitudes. At current, it is without doubt one of the most extensively used air protection methods worldwide. 

Batch manufacturing of the brand new guided missile 9M333 for the Strela-10M air protection methods has commenced in Russia. Considerably, these methods have been broadly deployed by Russia within the present battle. 

Nonetheless, their effectiveness in taking pictures down hostile drones has raised some eyebrows amongst navy observers. Because the Strela heat-seeking missiles primarily goal the new jet engine exhaust, locking onto smaller drones with minor infrared signatures can pose vital challenges. 

Ukraine to receive Strela-3 MANPADS, 9K33 Osa, and S-300 SAMs
Photograph credit score: Wikipedia

Navy consultants recommend that Russian surface-to-air heat-seeking missiles are geared up with influence fuses, making them appropriate for bigger targets resembling plane. On this context, the anti-aircraft methods may compete in opposition to Ukrainian fight jets, particularly contemplating Kyiv’s impending receipt of F-16 fighter jets from NATO allies.

‘An Ukrainian F-16’

{A photograph} circulated on social platforms depicts a Lockheed Martin plane situated at an airfield. The F-16 within the image seems to be inside European borders, maybe at Fetesti Air Base in Romania. This location capabilities as a NATO coaching heart for Ukrainian floor and aircrew personnel. 

Certainly, there are Dutch F-16 jets stationed at this base for coaching functions. Nonetheless, the paintwork on the airplane’s physique doesn’t correspond with the coloring of the Royal Netherlands Air Power’s fight planes. 

Ukrainian digital altered F-16 emerges; Russia boosts missile output
Photograph credit score: Twitter

A Ukrainian protection specialist, who requested to not be named, opined that the picture appears to be digitally altered. Moreover, he advised that Ukrainian hues might have been superimposed on the unique crimson and white markings of Denmark. 

Though Ukraine has not but obtained F-16 fighters, there’s a rising expectation that these plane may be deployed within the latter a part of this yr. Sure components, such because the readiness of Ukraine’s amenities and pilots, will play a position in figuring out the supply timeline. This info has been shared by representatives from Denmark and the Netherlands. Coaching for the pilots remains to be underway. 

Dutch F-16s could possibly be first

Firstly, a choice of the preliminary fleet may doubtlessly come from the Netherlands. Mark Rutte, the Dutch Protection Ministry spokesperson, hinted at the potential for offering extra jets sooner or later on December 22. Nonetheless, he additionally confirmed that his authorities is swiftly facilitating the preparation of the preliminary 18 plane. 

Shifting onto Denmark, which initially promised the supply of six plane by the tip of 2023, they’ve reportedly expedited their schedule by half a yr. Their definitive promise is the cargo of as many as 19 plane. Conversely, Belgium’s protection minister has pledged their contribution when it comes to a number of plane, provisionally set for a 2025 arrival. 

From the homeland, a number of Ukrainian media retailers have candidly identified that their air power expects to have a handful of F-16s prepared for motion as early as late spring or the start of the summer season. Though that is but to be formally confirmed, the joy in Kyiv is palpable and accordingly, the Ukrainian air power is taking stringent preparative measures. In distinction, the importance of Russia’s amplified manufacturing of its anti-aircraft methods turns into pronounced in opposition to this backdrop.

Dutch F-16s will break the sound barrier with control flights
Photograph by Ronnie Macdonald

Rising manufacturing of Vikhr-1

It’s noteworthy that the Russians are considerably ramping up the manufacturing of Vikhr-1 guided missiles. Notably, these missiles are already seeing widespread use in present battle zones, and are usually launched from assault helicopters. Image this: a Ka-52 helicopter kitted out with twelve Vikhr transport and launch containers. Every of those containers holds an Anti-Tank Guided Missile [ATGM]. 

Let’s delve into the specifics of the 9M127-1 Vikhr-1 ATGM. It is a supersonic missile, armed with a hefty 12-kilogram tandem Excessive Explosive Anti-Tank [HEAT] warhead. Due to laser steerage, this missile turns into a formidable tank destroyer. No matter whether or not it strikes the frontal armor or hits the facet, it could penetrate as much as 1200mm of armor. This functionality ensures that it could take down any trendy tank, no matter the place it makes contact.  

Vikht-1 air-to-air missile - Russia throws Su-30 and Su-35 into battle along with Inokhodets UAV
Photograph credit score: Russian MoD

However that’s not all. The Vikhr-1 missile additionally possesses the aptitude to interact fast-moving aerial targets touring at speeds of as much as 800 kilometers/hour. With a vary of 10 kilometers, it handily overshadows the vary of Stinger MANPADS, which might solely cowl half that distance. Additionally, maintain an ear out for information about Russian helicopters. They’re at the moment honing their abilities by launching anti-tank unguided munitions at simulated targets in distant areas.


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