An original article by James De Burghe May 14th, 2023
For some months the UK in collusion with Poland has been engaged in converting old Russian fighter and fighter bombers to carry the ‘Storm Shadow’ cruise missiles. Last week the public announcement of this was broadcast to the world. Some rather deluded commentators claimed that this would be a game changer that would drive the war to new heights of fury. As is often the case with people ignorant of the reality of this sequence of events, their cries of doom and gloom were misplaced.
In order for these elderly Russian designed aircraft to be able to carry these cruise missiles, the missiles themselves had to be modified. In their original form they were too heavy for these aircraft to carry. Equally their design did not allow for fixing to the aircraft’s belly as their was insufficient ground clearance. To enable the aircraft to be flown safely, they had to carry two missiles, one under each wing, and the missiles had to be released simultaneously in order for the pilot to maintain control of the aircraft. In order to achieve all this, the fuel load and the warhead size of the missile had to be reduced dramatically.
On May 12th at 6:30 pm Russian time the first of these converted aircraft, an SU24, escorted by a Mig-29 launched an attack on civilian targets in the Donbass, notwithstanding the fact that such attacks, the UK government had stated, would not take place, as the missiles were given to Ukraine on the strict understanding they would only be used against military targets. The missiles hit Polipak polymer products company and Milam meat processing plant and civilian housing alongside it in Lugansk, injuring two adults and six children. In cold hard damage terms, the impacts were no worse than the 155mm artillery shells used daily by Ukraine to bombard civilians in Donbass or the US supplied HIMARS rockets that regularly are aimed at bus stations, hospitals, and shopping malls. However, the payback in this case was swift, as Russian fighter aircraft shot down both the SU24 and its escorting Mig-29.
The UK has as yet not commented on the use of these missiles upon civilian targets. But, one thing is for certain. These missiles are not a game changer. In the light of the very heavy casualties inflicted on the Ukraine army in the last 48 hours, 3000, dead, countless wounded and captured, the destruction of ten of their tanks and of a host of other armoured vehicles, artillery guns etc., it would seem that the Ukraine government considers the killing of Russian speaking civilians takes precedence over training of its soldiers in Ukraine who are sent to the frontline with minimal or zero battle training. Yet hundreds of millions are spent on weapons whose only use is to kill civilians in the Donbass.
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