Ukraine’s military claimed the national air defense system had a record day of successes, shooting down six Russian Federation (RF) attack helicopters and 19 Iran-made kamikaze drones, an Army General Staff (AGS) statement released on Thursday, Oct. 13, said.
Other official Ukrainian sources and independent Ukrainian media outlets repeated the report of the alleged Tuesday, Oct, 11, shootdowns, but there was no outside confirmation. Russian Federation (RF) information platforms and state-controlled media made no early reference to the Ukrainian claim which, if accurate, would mark one of the biggest days of RF combat aircraft losses in the war.
A statement from Ukraine’s air force command said the helicopters were high-tech Ka-52 Alligator gunships, which were destroyed while flying ground strikes in the southern Kherson sector. One aircraft crashed inside RF lines and debris from the other five ended up in no-man’s land. Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) units have photos and videos of the destroyed aircraft that will be made public in due course, the Wednesday, Oct. 12, statement noted.
Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile operators, ground cannon gunners and fighter jet pilots also decimated multiple waves of Iranian-made Shahed-136 and Russian-made Zala Lancet kamikaze drones on Tuesday, Oct. 11, knocking 19 of the remote-controlled aircraft out of the sky, the statement underlined.
RF-controlled media sites claimed the majority of more than 30 suicide drones launched on Tuesday, Oct. 11, got through AFU defenses to strike infrastructure facilities in Vinnitsya, Dnipropetrovsk and Kyiv Regions. Energy facilities in Kryviy Rih were badly hit.
Ukrainian social media seemed to support claims made by AFU of repeated shootdowns of Iranian drones, dubbed “flying mopeds” by AFU soldiers for their distinctive engine sound and slow airspeed. In Kryviy Rih still images surfaced of two Shahed-136 craft flying in formation before being blown to bits by a pair of AFU ground-launched missiles. In Vinnitsya Region video appeared showing an AFU MiG-29 fighter jet pursuing and shooting down an Iranian drone with an air-to-air missile.
According to official Ukrainian military sources, the Ukrainian MiG pilot in question on Tuesday, Oct. 11, in multiple sorties flew the single most successful anti-drone day of air fighting of this war, knocking down two aircraft in the southern Kherson sector and three in the central Vinnitsya sector.
The airman ejected during a combat flight on Tuesday afternoon, the air force statement said, after his MiG suffered a serious technical problem. The aircraft was a total loss but a Vinnitsya farmer found the unhurt pilot, who returned to his unit.
The Commander of Ukraine’s Air Forces, Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, in a Wednesday statement said he had submitted a request that the pilot be awarded the country’s highest medal, Hero of Ukraine.
The Kremlin on Monday and Tuesday kicked off a campaign of mass cruise missile strikes on infrastructure and civilian targets, firing more than 150 of the mostly high-tech guided weapons, and an estimated 70 suicide drones.
The cruise missile launches stopped on Wednesday, but attacks by Tehran-developed kamikaze drones continued. Two or three suicide drones reportedly hit an infrastructure site in Kyiv Region on Oct. 13, damaging at least one building.
Wednesday also saw an announcement by Britain that it would transfer AMRAAM missiles to Ukraine for NASAMS air defense systems soon to be delivered to Ukraine from Norway and Germany. The ARMAAM-NASAMS pairing is a NATO-standard, highly-capable anti-aircraft system thought to be able to intercept and destroy any aircraft deployed by Moscow in the Ukrainian theater.
The missiles will reach Ukraine “in coming weeks”, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement.
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