How will bad weather affect Russian aviation and Ukrainian air defense? – NV asked experts

Russian Su-34
Russian Su-34

Adverse weather conditions can disrupt the work of enemy aircraft and UAV operators, but their impact should not be overestimated. NV interviewed military experts to find out how the weather affects the intensity of Russian airstrikes.

Rain, wind, fog, and other unfavorable weather conditions at launch sites may to some extent hinder the missile or drone launches or impede Russian strategic or tactical aviation work, said Center for Military and Legal Studies head Oleksandr Musiyenko, adding that the weather factor is also important for missile launches from the Caspian Sea.

The enemy will use missile terror tactics as soon as weather conditions deteriorate, believes Vladyslav Seleznyov, military expert and former General Staff’s spokesperson.

Read also: Russia could resume targeting Ukraine’s energy system when cold weather arrives — as early as next week

"They will increasingly use missiles to directly attack our country's critical energy infrastructure. Because it worked last year. Ukraine was blacked out. I think this time the enemy will do the same. The decisive factor in reducing the intensity of the enemy's use of its aviation is a powerful air defense system. Unfortunately, we do not have it," Seleznyov said, noting that weather conditions can create certain challenges for enemy aircrafts, but this factor is not decisive.

He also downplayed Russia's air superiority for the situation at the front, saying that even small air defense systems force the enemy to stay away. The enemy usually use launches guided aerial bombs from long distances, more than 20-30 km from the front line.

Influence of weather on air defense

Ukraine's air defense systems are weatherproof, as most of them are not visually oriented. "They are guided by radar and other types of monitoring. Therefore, in principle, everything is visible on the radar, regardless of rain, fog, or other weather conditions," Musiyenko said.

Seleznyov also noted that the weather can cause certain difficulties, but is unlikely to critically reduce the primary combat capabilities of Ukrainian air and missile defense operators.

The weather has a significant impact on the effectiveness of mobile air defense groups, as there is no visual contact with the target. At the same time, there is still acoustic contact, which can be used instead.

Adverse weather conditions in Ukraine, particularly heavy rains, could pose challenges to military operations, affecting vehicle mobility, aviation, and drone usage, Volodymyr Fityo, Ground Forces Command spokesperson for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said on national television on Nov. 12.

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