In August, the Ukrainian Army conducted a series of victorious strikes into the Russian deep rear. In particular, three Russian air bases and two air defence and radar sites were attacked. Russia lost two Tu-22M3 bombers in two weeks, four Il-76 transport aircraft, an S-400 Triumph launcher, and a Predel-E radar.
On 19 and 21 August, Russian resources reported that drones attacked the military airfields of the Russian Armed Forces “Soltsy” (Novgorod region of the Russian Federation) and “Shaikovka” (western Kaluga region of the Russian Federation). Photos of an expensive Tu-22M3 strategic bomber on fire at the Soltsy airbase were the first to appear.
The total Russian losses made $1.2 million, according to Forbes (link in Ukrainian).
The Defence Intelligence of Ukraine’s chief of staff, Andriy Yusov, said the attack had destroyed one aircraft and damaged four others. The Ukrainian Pravda intelligence service sources noted that two Tu-22M3 aircraft were destroyed.
Later, a photo of another Tu-22M3 crashed at the Soltsy airbase, possibly during the attack. This was the first time a strategic Russian bomber was destroyed.
The loss of two Tu-22M3s at Soltsy was the most expensive for Russia after sinking the $750 million ship “Moskva”.
Russia’s international contracts can determine the cost of a strategic bomber. In the early 2000s, Russia signed agreements to supply Tu-22M bombers to India and China. The cost of one Tu-22M3 aircraft is estimated at $294 million.
On 30 August, an attack on the Pskov airbase destroyed four Il-76 landing planes. They are used to transport Russian soldiers across the territory of the Russian Federation.
The Defence Intelligence of Ukraine reported the destruction of the four aircraft. The cost of one Il-76 is $86 million.
The loss of expensive equipment for the Russians did not end there. On 23 August, a video of the destruction of the S-400 Triumph launcher, Russia’s latest air and missile defence system, was released.
A surprise was caused not only by the fact that the missile defence system was hit by a Ukrainian missile (and thus could not identify and intercept it) but also by the fact that a Ukrainian reconnaissance drone filmed the process.
This could be a severe blow to the reputation of the S-400 systems, which Russia actively promotes for export as an analogue of the most advanced anti-aircraft missile system, the leading US Army’s Patriot air defence system, and even THAAD.
The S-400 launcher was hit near the village of Olenivka on Cape Tarkhankut in the Russian-occupied Crimea, about 140 km from the nearest Ukrainian positions.
The American publication The Warzone, citing its sources in the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, reported that the Russian system was destroyed by a modified Neptune missile, which Ukrainian engineers have re-equipped to destroy ground targets at a distance of up to 400 km.
The cost of the Russian S-400 air defence systems in the Turkish contract is about $69 million.
On 28 August, the Ukrainian Forces showed a video of the destruction of Russia’s latest $200 million Predel-E long-range surveillance radar.
This system existed in a single copy and was used to monitor Ukrainian airspace. The declared range of target detection is 400 km.
In most attacks, the Ukrainian military used drones, which cost hundreds of times less than the destroyed Russian army equipment.
According to the BBC, the Ukrainian Army has carried about 190 strikes deep into Russian-controlled territory over the past eight months. And it seems that they are now becoming more systematic and effective.