You can learn a lot from one short video.
The below video shows what I assume to be two Russian Su-25 “Grach” ground attack jets flying very low over southeastern or southern Ukraine, soon to be part of the Russian Federation.
The video has been “enriched” with a soundtrack, namely the iconic song Prekrasnoe Dalyoko (which I veeeeeery roughly translate as “Splendid Someday“) from the 1980s hit TV miniseries Gostia iz Budush’evo (“Guest from the Future.“)
The last few seconds of the video, show a blank screen with the Russian words for, “Today, what have I done for tomorrow?“, a key phrase in the song’s lyrics. The relevance is obvious.
These pilots are part of a war effort to guarantee Russia’s physical-political and economic (e.g. control over Black Sea oil and grain export routes as well as oil and gas resources) security for the coming decades. Moreover, using this beautiful song—with its searing lyrics—in the given context, is intended to evoke feelings of mission and participation in a Russian audience.
“Today, what have I done for tomorrow?”
First, some musings on working for tomorrow, then later we’ll analyze the video and Russia’s air war more broadly, both of these from a technical, tactical, and strategic perspective.
The U.S. Government agency where I work my dayjob—and which I don’t represent or speak for in any capacity whatsoever on this blog—sent out an email a few days ago, praising the more than 20,000 (out of 400,000-plus) employees who chose to include their “pro-noun” preferences in their email profiles, in line with management’s encouragement. (So far, I’ve not seen any gender-flipping—if anything, I’m guessing it’s an act of protest or ridicule in most cases.)
“Today, what have I done for tomorrow?” For America’s tomorrow, the Brandon fre@kshow hasn’t done squat. My God, what a bunch of Limp D*ck Losers. Their rule started with a military occupation of the nation’s capital, to keep any residual protestors from heckling within two miles of their inauguration, and it’s all been downhill from there.
Now, they intend to withhold school lunch funding from states that won’t let boys use the girls’ bathroom. What a G@WD D@MN CIRCUS. They are daring the Universe to DESTROY them. I’m convinced the korona is coming back soon, and it will bury them and their pro-nouns under millions of vakk-syn-ay-ted corpses. But, посмотрим, as they say in Russian—we’ll see what happens.
What does this video tell us?
As you can see, the craft taking up most of the video, is flying in a pair (at least.) It is flying EXTREMELY low. Between it and its partner, they deploy decoy flares two or three times in the span of less than one minute of footage (the third time might be a repeat—please leave a comment if you’re sure one way or the other—and quite a bit of “downtime” may have been edited out.) Most likely, they both deploy flares simultaneously, but the visible focus is on one at a time.
The flares are intended to confuse the infrared homing on Uncle Sam’s Stinger missiles, which have been “donated” (with a time-delay) to ISIS or other as-yet-unknown international terrorists, using the Ukraine as middle-man. Of course, the middle-man will cook most of them off himself, but you may wish to think twice about flying anything but El Al and Arkia from now on. (Israel’s main airlines are believed to load “countermeasures” on their planes.)
This may have been a “trailblazer” flight, to draw Stinger fire so as to clear the way for another flight, perhaps a bombing run by more Su-25’s, or a strafing run by attack helicopters.
Many readers have asked, where is the Russian air force, why don’t we see them? It’s a valid question, but an odd one. There are many videos of Russian aircraft flying by. I think what the questioners really mean is, why don’t we see the sort of “target destroyed from 20,000 feet” videos that Americans got used to, starting with the 1991 war against Iraq?
FIRST, either Russia doesn’t have the sort of video recording capabilities that CNN viewers have come to expect, or if it does, it’s not releasing the video, as such might be used by U.S. planners to understand Russian techniques and to defend/mask ground targets or even help bring down Russian aircraft.
SECOND, most Russian manned aircraft activity consists of tactical bombing and strafing runs. There is extensive footage of Russian attack helicopters shooting at ground targets, often with success. As for the fixed-wing aircraft (planes), they typically drop “dumb” (unguided) bombs onto targets from a height of as little as 40 meters (to avoid being seen at a distance by Stinger operators), and there’s simply nothing that can be recorded under those circumstances.
Of course, these bombing runs are not particularly accurate with respect to limited, perhaps unseen targets such as, for example, a platoon-sized strongpoint in a forest. These aircraft would be more useful against columns on a road, but the Ukrainians mostly hide and play static defense.
THIRD, “no one” expected this, but it turns out Russia had (perhaps still has) so many cruise missiles—with explosive payloads of up to 500 kilograms—that it hardly needs to use its heavy bombers. After all, the Ukraine still has some limited, high-altitude air defenses (now less than 10 percent of what it started the war with, but air defense is air defense), so why take the risk?
Strategic bombers have indeed been used to drop blockbusters on the Azovstal complex in Mariupol, and to launch cruise missiles against targets in Kiev and elsewhere, but these flights have not been “well advertised”, with not even so much as video of the planes taking off or landing. It’s clear that Russian military censorship and discretion is at work here. No doubt, Uncle Sam is salivating to learn which types of aircraft, where are they based, etc. But, why give anything away for free? Let the U.S. work for it.
Russia’s cruise missiles have been such a blast, they are taboo in the MSM
Cruise missiles have been THE greatest Russian success story of this war, which is probably why they have gone almost unmentioned in the U.S. and UK press.
First, “no one” expected Russia to have so many. As of now, somewhere north of 1500 of various types (mostly the Kalibr but also the Oniks, Kh-22, Kinzhal, etc.) have been launched against targets in the Ukraine, which is ABOUT THREE-QUARTERS AS MANY CRUISE MISSILES AS THE UNITED STATED HAS LAUNCHED IN **ALL** ITS WARS AND OPERATIONS SINCE 1991.
Second, these things have proven to be amazingly accurate, usually to within just a few meters. In over 100 days of war, with over 1500 launches, excluding the 10 percent or so that have been shot down, the number of Russian cruise missiles that have fallen so short of their targets as to kill civilians or damage civilian homes (without damaging their intended targets at all) can probably be counted on two hands.
Third, Russian cruise missiles have destroyed likely hundreds of tons and hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars of NATO country hardware and munitions being moved inside, or stored in, the Ukraine, before it even reached the “front lines.”
Much of this stuff was supposed to be “hidden”, but was discovered by Russian intelligence using satellite imagery or in many cases, informers on the ground. This is an embarrassment, and not something Uncle Sam wants to advertise.
Of course, in war there are losses, but as it’s not supposed to be “their” war, it’s not something “they” want to highlight to their taxpaying publics. As far as the party line goes, all the “donations” are reaching Ukrainian forces in the field.
Is it any wonder that this success story has been fully ignored by the “Russia is losing” crowd?