Frontline report Day 601: Ukrainian Forces Launch Devastating Strikes on Russian Airfields

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Frontline report Day 601: Ukrainian Forces Launch Devastating Strikes on Russian Airfields

Ukrainian forces launched devastating ATACMS missile strikes on Russian airfields in Berdyansk and Luhansk. The precision attacks destroyed helicopters, equipment, and infrastructure, dealing significant blows to Russian military capabilities.

Today, there is a lot of good news from the south – YouTube channel Reporting from Ukraine reports.

Screenshot from video

Here, Ukrainian forces conducted a devastating strike on the Russian airfield in Berdyansk. The airfield is located around 100 km from the front, and it served as the main base for the Russian assault helicopters Ka-52, which caused a lot of trouble for Ukrainian tanks and armored fighting vehicles on the contact line. Based on the satellite footage from last month, we can see that Russians stationed here at least 15 helicopters of various types. The helicopters were mostly located on the eastern side of the airfield, which is exactly where this morning huge fires broke out, according to NASA Firms satellite data.

Screenshot from video

Soon, a video filmed by a Russian soldier leaked into the Ukrainian media space. Even though the video was filmed from afar, we can clearly see silhouettes of burning helicopters in the distance. According to the comments of the soldiers that were filming the video, there were at least 5 aircraft on fire: Mi-8 and Mi-24 in front of them, and Ka-52 to the left. Moreover, the camera also caught a glimpse of the facilities to the right that were brightly burning. The soldiers also said that the air defense did not manage to intercept any rockets. Soon, the helicopter’s ammunition started to detonate, and the soldiers ran away. Given that some helicopters were staying too close to each other, the detonation of ammunition caused more aircraft losses.

Initially, Russian sources reported that judging by the scale of the destruction, Ukrainians launched up to 40 rockets. Later, Russian sources published photos of the remnants of the rockets and concluded that Ukrainians conducted the strike with ATACMS missiles. There are various types of ATACMS missiles, and there was a lot of debate about which type Ukrainians will get. Everyone expected that the US would provide the classic missile with a unitary warhead that is designed to hit single big targets. However, judging by the remnants found on the airfield, this missile had a submunition warhead that contained hundreds of steel case balls filled with incendiary pallets.

The Ukrainian General Staff did not try to deny the claims and posted a video showing how 3 HIMARS systems are launching ATACMS missiles in the direction of Berdyansk. The fact that it took only 3 missiles to put on fire half of the airfield indicates that there were indeed a lot of incendiary pallets. Moreover, the White House officially confirmed that the US has provided Ukraine with ATACMS missiles but with the shortest range of 165 km. However, the unique feature of this shorter-range variant is that it contains almost 1000 submunition, while the 300 km version has only 300. So, for the purpose of this strike, this was the best variant to use.

Screenshot from video

What makes the situation even more problematic for Russians it that unlike Storm Shadow and Scalp missiles, there is no way they can predict the launch of ATACMS missiles. Since Storm Shadow missiles are air-launched, the moment Ukrainian Su-24 takes off, Russians understand that there is a possibility of a strike. ATACMS is launched from the surface of highly mobile carriers, which makes tracing virtually impossible. On top of that, ATACMS is not a simple ballistic missile with a fully predictable trajectory. ATACMS are highly maneuverable and can have complex trajectories, making interception of these missiles a very difficult task.

Screenshot from video

And Ukrainian forces proved it the same morning for the second time by conducting another strike – this time, the target became the airfield in Luhansk. Ukrainian forces published a video of the launch of 2 missiles, so in total, today, Ukrainians used 5 ATACMS missiles. And the results are quite impressive. According to the Ukrainian Special Forces who conducted this operation with the name Dragonfly, these 5 missiles destroyed 9 helicopters of various types, multiple pieces of special equipment on the airfields, 1 air defense rocket launcher, 2 ammunition depots, more than 20 troops, including valuable pilots, and also damaged the tarmac, making it temporarily unusable by fighter jets.

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