Cruise Missile Strikes, Railroad Infrastructure, Bombers — Commentary to Alex Mercouris Latest Video

Alex Mercouris talked about the use of the cruise missiles to strike targets against UA in his latest video. He analyses the Russian cruise missile production capacities based on the cruise missiles used in those strikes. In on one of my previous posts, I discussed the error in correlating the number of missiles used in a given period to the number of cruise missiles produced in the same time period. This is based on the simple idea that any army will stock ammunition in peacetime in order to expend it wartime in much larger quantities that can be produces “on demand” during the war. (There are exceptions like WWII or other large and long-lasting conflicts.)

This time Alexander talked about the larger-than-usual strike on UA infrastructure. Since the number of stand-off weapons seem to grow, Alexander makes logical assumption that this is the result of the growth in production of the Russian cruise missiles. The problem with this conclusion is that the increased numbers are mostly, as some sources suggests, come from the Iranian Shahed-136 drones (practically, cheap and relatively primitive cruise missiles). If so, the immediate reason of the of this increase is originated from foreign procurements and not from the domestic production.

Alexander was also talking about the difficulties the UA will have in replacing their locomotives. While this is true, since the Ukrainian economy is being degraded and many flee the country, the large portion of locomotives, engaged in logistic operation servicing the economy and civilian transportation, will be greatly reduced by the crushing economy, leaving a lot of reserves for military logistical needs. UA is a large exporter of grains, metals, coil and other resources and products, which in past required a very developed railroad infrastructure. Military needs are much less demanding, which will create a large number of spare and idle locomotives. If so, there will be no significant deficit in locomotives in UA, unless they will be targeted specifically (all the many thousands of them). The thing is, there are much more important targets for Russians to hunt and destroy than diesel locomotives, such as air-defence systems or HIMARS launchers.

Alex also talked about the prospects of the Russian combat aviation after the A2/AD threat will be eliminated. The problem is that the current Russian efforts in clearing this threat have much less then promising results. In other words, Russian Military had failed miserably in creating conditions that will allow its airpower to act effectively. Nothing will change in the near future.

The 9-tonn bomb was a prototype that was used (I believe) only once during testing, to demonstrate parity against the US-developed MOAB (which was actually used operationally at least once, IIRC). Simply put, top Russian political and military officials wanted to show they have as large penis as the Uncle Sam has. That is all. The perfect opportunity to use it and same many soldiers’ lives in Mariupol’ showed Russia is either unable or unwilling to use those bombs (maybe both). In reality, the most effective are the Su-25 close air support attack jets, that could rain havoc on enemy ground forces if allowed to operate freely. They could hunt and destroy enemy armor, artillery, MLRS, supply lines, fortifications etc. The larger targets like infrastructure, power plants, factories, bridges — those can be engaged effectively by Su-34 tactical bombers of multipurpose fighter jets. Long-range bombers are not really required in UA, since the tactical aviation has enough range to cover the entire Ukrainian territory. Still, Tu-22M3 bombers can be used in some circumstances, but the main work will be done by attack, multipurpose, and tactical bomber jets. Though, this point remains mute, since Russian MoD and the Air Force are unable to produce effective SEAD/DEAD operations. What makes this situation worse, is that the West has started to replace Ukrainian air-defence systems with Western ones (NASAMS, IRIS-T, Patriot, Improved Hawk, etc.).

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