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Russia prepares assault using KH-35 anti-ship missile to strike a major land target near Kharkiv.

| Russia Ukraine War 2022

According to Russian sources, a Ukrainian radar station was reportedly destroyed by a Russian Kh-35 missile during a strike conducted on May 5, 2024. This radar station was located in the Fedorovka area in the Kharkov region (x: 35.74507 y:49.82564). This strike inevitably reduces Ukrainian capabilities for missile and aircraft detection in the Kharkov area. The loss of this radar further supports Ukrainian demands regarding air defense systems and creates a favorable situation for Russian operations in the Kharkov zone.
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Reco UAV view during minutes before the strike on P-18 (Picture source: Russian fighters)

The P18 radar system, developed by the Russian company NPO Almaz, is a long-range surveillance radar designed to detect and track a wide variety of airborne targets, including aircraft, helicopters, drones, and ballistic missiles. This radar is part of the P-ESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar family, which uses electronically scanned antennas for wider coverage and better detection accuracy. The P18 is often used for monitoring airspace, borders, and strategic areas, offering advanced detection capability in various environments and difficult weather conditions.

One of the key features of the P18 system is its ability to detect stealthy targets due to its advanced signal processing techniques and high sensitivity. It is equipped with multiple operating modes, including air surveillance mode, ground surveillance mode, and maritime surveillance mode, allowing it to adapt to different operational scenarios. Additionally, the P18 can be integrated into larger air defense networks to share real-time surveillance data and improve coordination in response to potential threats.

In contrast, the KH-35 missile, originally an anti-ship missile, has characteristics that make it interesting for strikes against such targets. The Russian X-35 missile, also known as Kh-35 Uranus, is a subsonic cruise anti-ship missile developed by the Russian Tactical Missiles Corporation. Designed for use by fighter aircraft and surface ships, the X-35 is capable of striking maritime targets at distances of up to 260 kilometers, with increased accuracy thanks to its inertial guidance system and terminal active or passive radar.

One of the key features of the X-35 is its ability to fly at extremely low altitudes, often below 10 meters above sea level, making it difficult to detect and intercept for adversary air defense systems. It is also equipped with electronic countermeasures to counter attempts to jam or disrupt its guidance.

The X-35 is deployable from a variety of platforms, including fighter aircraft such as the Su-30 and MiG-29, as well as surface ships and submarines equipped with vertical launchers. The X-35 is therefore very useful for strikes against detection systems because Ukrainians are now able to intercept even Kinzhal missiles with a relative success probability.

The flight characteristics below radar detection cones are thus particularly interesting for the Russians. Several days ago on May 3rd, 2024 a KH-35 Uranus destroyed a German IRIS-T air defense system. 

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