Iskander-M TEL and loader
“Despite the fact that air defense systems are still deployed in the west of Ukraine and there are a large number of radar stations, the Ukrainian military has never managed to intercept the Russian Iskanders. It is likely that Ukrainian air defense could see Russian missiles, but there were obvious difficulties with interception, ” Said by Russian expert.
Apparently, the situation is also with the Russian Kalibr cruise missiles – the flight of these missiles has been repeatedly recorded, however, due to the characteristics of these cruise missiles, it is almost impossible to intercept them, in any case, with the air defense systems that are in service with Ukraine.
The Iskander-M missile uses highly mobile launchers, each carrying two missiles, which are located across the Ukrainian border in Russia and in Belarus, and there is evidence they began to be moved into position well ahead of the invasion being launched. The missile has so far seen extensive use in the conflict, the Pentagon having assessed that as many as 100 were launched in only the first hours of fighting on February 24.
The reason why Ukraine failed to intercept Iskander missile is that it travel at the speed of Hypersonic. Also in March it was discovered that Russia using decoys to avoid Ukrainian air defence.
The decoys are deployed by the 9K720 Iskander-M’s solid-fuel 9M723 ballistic missiles that, according to official figures, have a range of 310 miles, although there is evidence that they can fly further than that. The decoys, according to the U.S. intelligence officials, help the missiles evade air defense systems since they are able to “trick air defense radars and fool heat-seeking missiles.”
Apparently, a single 9M723 can be loaded with at least six of the decoys, which slot into tubes located at the base of the missile body:
The decoys appear to feature at least two different kinds of countermeasures: a jammer to disrupt radar-frequency emitters and a decoy heat source to confuse infrared-guided missiles. It’s also possible that the body of the decoy itself serves a spoofing purpose, by creating an enhanced radar signature that might trick radar operators into thinking they are looking at a real missile or something else entirely. Moreover, not only does a decoy like this present a hurdle to potential interceptor missiles, but it also provides discrimination challenges for defenders who have to determine where the real missile is before attempting an intercept.
Defeating ballistic missiles is a big challenge in the best of times and Ukraine likely has only one surface-to-air missile system with any kind of ABM capability. This is the Soviet-era S-300V (SA-12A Gladiator), although the status of Ukraine’s S-300V systems, thought to number only a handful in active service before the war began, is uncertain.
In the past only one missile defence system that able to intercept Iskander missile. During the Nagorno-Karabakh war, a Armenian Iskander ballistic missile was shot down by Azerbaijan by using Israeli-made Barak-8 MRSAM.