Yastreb-AV counter-fire radar complex. Photo: Sputnik

Ukraine posted a video destroying Russia’s Yastreb-AV counter-battery radar system right after Moscow confirmed this complex was being deployed on the battlefield.

On January 2, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that it had deployed the Yastreb-AV counter-fire radar complex on the front lines in Ukraine. This is said to be Russia’s tactical card to counter artillery systems used by the Ukrainian army, including HIMARS rocket artillery, a weapon that has caused a lot of damage to Moscow since the beginning of the war.

Russia has repeatedly announced the destruction of a number of HIMARS complexes in Ukraine, but Western experts believe that Moscow has not been able to do this, partly due to the limited capacity of the counter-fire radar that Russia deploys on the battlefield. Yastreb-AV, the most modern counter-fire radar in service with the Russian military, is expected to help overcome the above drawback.

One day after Russia confirmed it was deploying the Yastreb-AV radar system on the battlefield, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense posted a video of its forces destroying the Yastreb-AV complex on the southern front.

Video shot by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) shows this radar system moving over an open area, preparing to activate the antenna to carry out its mission, when it was attacked and exploded, creating a large column of smoke. A Russian soldier then fled the scene.

“A perfect shot destroyed Russia’s $250 million Yastreb-AV counter-battery radar system,” Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense wrote on social network X, adding that the strike was carried out by a HIMARS rocket—a weapon against which Yastreb-AV was deployed.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has not commented on the information.

According to Forbes military expert David Ax, the Ukrainian UAV seems to have discovered the location of the Yastreb-AV complex by tracking the special signal that this radar complex’s phased array antenna system emits when operating. “Ukrainian intelligence may already have data on this signal,” Ax said.

This is not the first time Ukraine has announced the destruction of the Yastreb-AV radar system. Last August, General Oleksandr Tarnavsky, commander of the Tavria strategic and operational group in charge of the southern front of the Ukrainian army, announced that this country’s forces had destroyed 18 Russian military assets, including one complex. Yastreb-AV, but at that time, Moscow had not confirmed that it had deployed it to the battlefield.

Yastreb-AV was first introduced at the Army 2022 International Military-Technical Forum held on the outskirts of Moscow. This system recently began to be deployed to the Russian military after completing testing around the end of 2021 or early 2022.

Specific technical specifications of the Yastreb-AV have not been disclosed, except that it is mounted on the BAZ-6910 truck chassis. According to RIA Novosti, Yastreb-AV is equipped with a phased array antenna radar capable of automatically tracking the trajectory of artillery shells and tracing back to the location where they were fired. The enemy’s coordinates are transferred to Russian artillery or fighter aircraft to perform counter-fire missions.

Ukrainian media said a Yastreb-AV radar complex costs about 250 million USD, dozens of times more expensive than the Zoopark line that Russia is deploying in Ukraine.

Kyiv has also repeatedly announced the destruction of the Zoopark complex since the beginning of the war. A July intelligence report from the British Ministry of Defense said that most of the Zoopark complex that Russia deployed in Ukraine had been wiped out, leaving the country lacking a counter-fire radar to deal with enemy artillery.