Which missiles Ukraine can and can’t shoot down

16 March, 07:07 PM
Remains of Russian Hurricanes that did not explode in Kharkiv, October 21, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne)

Remains of Russian Hurricanes that did not explode in Kharkiv, October 21, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne)

Ukraine’s air defense can shoot down certain types of cruise missiles, but not all ballistic targets, Ukraine’s Air Force spokesperson, Yuriy Ihnat, said in an interview with Channel 24 on March 16. 

Ukraine’s primary air defense systems are the Buk-M1 and S-300.

According to Ihnat, anti-aircraft guided missiles can shoot down both warplanes and cruise missiles.

Ukraine can shoot down the following types of missiles:

  • Kalibr (3M14) - sea-launched cruise missiles
  • Kh-101/Kh-555/Kh-55 - air-launched cruise missiles
  • R-500 (9M728) - land-based cruise missile from the Iskander-K complex
  • Kh-59 - air-to-ground guided missile
  • Kh-35 - air-, sea-, or shore-based anti-ship missile

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Ukraine cannot shoot down:

  • Iskander-M - ballistic missiles 9M723
  • Tochka-U
  • Kh-22
  • S-300/400/500 - anti-aircraft guided missiles
  • P-800 Oniks - coastal-launched cruise missiles, usually targeting Odesa Oblast
  • Kh-47 Kinzhal - hypersonic aerial ballistic missile
  • Kh-31P - aviation anti-radar missile

Ihnat explained that these missiles fly along a ballistic trajectory and actually hit the target at high speed. Special anti-aircraft missile systems are needed to destroy them.

He also said that the Air Force has not shot down any of the 120 Kh-22 missiles that Russia has fired at Ukraine since the start of the full-scale war, although many have missed their targets.

"In order to shoot down the Kh-22, Ukraine needs an anti-aircraft missile system that can operate in automatic mode, i.e., make decisions without human intervention — with the latest radar and a modern missile," Ihnat said.

Such systems include the NASAMS and Iris-T, which should "be at the right time and place," as well as Patriot and FSAF SAMP/T.

According to the Air Force, over the past six months, Russia has consumed a huge strategic stockpile of missiles by striking Ukraine's critical infrastructure.

While Ukraine has sustained many hits, almost 700 [~85%] have been shot down.

Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the enemy has fired 821 missiles at Ukraine during 15 massive attacks.

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