To protect against Russian airstrikes, Ukraine’s defenders ‘shoot and scoot’

In an effort to protect against Russian airstrikes, Ukrainian defenders employ a ‘shoot and scoot’ tactic, a strategy which has been incredibly effective since Russia’s full-scale invasion 16 months ago.

Defending the capital: Outside Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital’s first line of defense consists of two Ukrainian soldiers and their American-made Humvee, equipped with a U.S. Stinger missile system.
* Upon receiving an alert, the soldiers have seven minutes to prepare for an airstrike, and are then required to quickly vacate their position to avoid detection by Russian forces.
* Russia primarily launches airstrikes after dark; for instance, last month, Kyiv was targeted 17 days, typically in the pre-dawn hours.

Success rate: According to Serhiy, one member of the air defense team, of the eight stinger rounds fired, two missed their targets, but the others successfully hit a fighter jet, a helicopter, a missile, and three drones.
* Overall, Ukraine’s air defense has been extremely effective, managing to shoot down incoming missiles and drones at a rate of around 90%. In Kyiv, the figure is even higher due to layers of air defense.
* The Stinger missiles cost around $40,000 each, compared to the U.S. Patriot system, which costs about $4 million per missile.

Obstacles and challenges: Ukraine previously relied on an aged Soviet-era system, the S-300, which still performed effectively, however, it’s now running low on missiles and Russia is the only provider.
* Russia seeks to exhaust Ukraine’s missile stockpile, by launching numerous missiles and drones, with the expectation that most will be shot down.

Support from the West: NATO countries, including the U.S., have supplied Ukraine with Western air defense systems, such as the Patriot and NASAMS.
* U.S. Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, emphasized the importance of meeting Ukraine’s needs for ground-based air defense systems, crediting Ukrainian air defenders with saving numerous lives.
* However, if Ukraine’s ground troops push their offensive in the east and south, they will require air defenses; deciding whether to move the mobile crews with the troops or maintain protection for cities will be a challenging decision.

View original article on NPR

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