Ukraine loses its ONLY Skyguard air defense system received from Italy

8:11 05.08.2023 •


In what could be a severe blow to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), a video recently surfaced online showing the potential destruction of an Italian-origin Skyguard control station (photo), ‘Eurasian Times’ from Toronto, Canada, informs.

The control station is also linked to a ground-based air defense (GBAD) system that uses the Aspide surface-to-air missile. The Skyguard/Aspide system may have been the only one Ukraine has ever received.

In a tweet, ‘Ukraine Weapons Tracker’ said, “A Ukrainian battery control post of the Skyguard Aspide air-defense system was destroyed by a Russian Lancet loitering munition near Muzykivka, #Kherson Oblast. This system was originally transferred by Italy.”

In February this year, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced in a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that her country would provide Kyiv with Spada and Skyguard air defense systems beyond the SAMP-T/Mamba, which it earlier pledged to deliver.

However, little information is available on the number of SkyGuard or Aspide air defense systems delivered to Kyiv.

From the video that has gone viral, military watchers judged the Russian loitering munition to be a Lancet which could be recognized by its characteristic cruciform wing design. A video taken from another spotter drone shows the various components of the system set up in what appears to be a large and open field.

As seen in the video above, the drone first spots a group of soldiers strolling along a walkway alongside the field before locating the control station, which is situated in another area of the field, first from a distance and then directly from above.

The loitering munition’s direct strike on its target, which appeared to split into pieces on impact, is shown in a video taken from another drone capturing the action from above.

Russia has extensively deployed Lancet loitering munitions that have been frequently seen going after Ukrainian radars and SAMs deployed along the frontlines. In the recent instance, the choice of target by the Russian loitering munition is significant as battery control stations are essential parts of surface-to-air missile systems.

The Skyguard 3 version of the system is a fire control station that links a combination of up to four effectors. They include missile launchers, the Oerlikon Twin Gun GDF007, and the Oerlikon Revolver Gun Mk2. However, despite their cutting-edge capabilities and other Western air defense systems delivered by NATO countries to Ukraine, they are an easy target for Russia’s suicide drone attacks.

Ironically, the systems entrusted by the Ukrainian military to protect against aerial assault are often struck by the same system. Russia frequently dispatches its Lancet and Geran-2 drones for it.

Russian forces now rely heavily on precision weapons like Lancet munitions, which work particularly well against artillery, combat vehicles, and air defense systems. The SkyGuard struck recently was just another casualty in the ongoing war as Russia’s drone attack on Ukraine continues unabated, notes ‘Eurasian Times’.


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