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Ukraine Strikes with FPV Drone Key Russian 9S36M Radar Component of Buk-M3 Air Defense System

According to a tweet by Ukrainian Front dated March 29, 2024, Ukrainian forces have destroyed a radar of the Buk-M3 air defense system. This constitutes the first video evidence of the destruction of a 9S36M, a very rare Russian piece of equipment.
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Ukrainian forces destroy a 9S36M radar of the Russian Buk-M3 air defense system. (Picture source: OSINT / Vitaly Kuzmin)

Ukrainian forces achieved a notable first in the ongoing conflict with Russia by destroying a 9S36M radar of the Russian Buk-M3 air defense system. The 9S36M radar is a crucial element of the Buk-M3 system, playing a vital role in detecting and tracking aerial targets and guiding the system's 9R31M missiles.

The destruction of this rare and costly equipment represents not only an operational loss for Russian forces but also raises questions about the vulnerability of sophisticated Russian air defense systems to Ukrainian tactics. The confirmation of this destruction comes at a time when Ukraine continues to receive military support, including the announcement of upcoming deliveries of F-16s, which could change the aerial dynamics of the conflict. Therefore, the destruction of air defense material represents an extremely important issue for Ukraine.

Furthermore, Sweden recently announced the possibility of sending Gripen Fighters Jets to Ukraine, which is discussed on Army Recognition. The arrival of the F-16s and Gripens combined with the destruction of numerous air defense systems could influence the aerial combat largely dominated by Russia since the beginning of the war.

The Buk-M3 is a medium-range air defense system designed to protect against various aerial threats. This advanced system, used primarily by Russia, is known for its ability to engage targets at distances ranging from 2,500 to 70,000 meters. It is distinguished by the integration of high-explosive fragmentation (HE) missiles, each weighing 795 kg, which are guided to their targets through a semi-active radar guidance system in the terminal phase with inertial trajectory updates and course correction via radio data link.

The Buk-M3 battery consists of several key elements to maximize its operational effectiveness. It is equipped with TELAR 9A317M missile launch vehicles, each capable of carrying and launching six 9R31M missiles, as well as TEL 9A316M vehicles capable of carrying and launching up to twelve missiles. This flexibility ensures a dense and reactive defensive coverage against diversified threats.

The operations of the Buk-M3 system are supported by a phased-array radar, essential for target detection, tracking, and missile guidance. The combination of these features makes the Buk-M3 a crucial element in air defense, capable of effectively responding to sophisticated aerial threats, thus a prime target for Ukrainian forces.

This event marks a significant milestone in the ongoing conflict, illustrating the continuous losses in air defense equipment that Russia is suffering on the ground. As Ukraine continues to strengthen its aerial capabilities with international support, the destruction of the 9S36M radar of the Buk-M3 system could have long-term implications on Russia's air defense strategy in the region.

Ukraine Destroys First Russian 9S36M Radar Part of Buk M3 Air Defense System 925 002
9S36M radar of the Russian Buk-M3 air defense system. (Picture source: Army Recognition)


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