Experts: Missile that hit Poland could have exploded in self-destruct mode

Tanel Lelov.
Tanel Lelov. Source: ERR

The S-300 missile which hit a farm in Poland on Tuesday killing two people may have self-destructed before impact, Estonian military experts believe. The incident, once again, shows why Ukraine needs equipment to repel large-scale airstrikes, it was said on Wednesday.

Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) Air Defense Inspector Lt. Col. Tanel Lelov said many surface-to-air missiles, including the identified S-300, feature a self-destruct mode that can be triggered in case of errors or missed targets, Wednesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported.

"If the fired missile misses or loses the target within a certain time limit, the missile will self-destruct in the air. This time will depend on the range or capability of the missile, but generally, once the maximum range has been exceeded," Lelov said.

Brig. Gen. Urmas Roosimägi led the Soviet Union's S-300 air defense division and was later an EDF air defense inspector.

He said it is likely the missile self-destructed in the air. If it had done so on impact, the damage would have been greater, he believes.

Roosimägi said Ukraine's missiles may be quite old.

"In 2014, Ukraine ended all military cooperation with Russia, but the S-300 is a product of the Soviet Union. And if we count backward now, this missile could have been 20 to 25 years old," he said.

The missile did not hit its target, for example, a Russian ballistic missile, and then carried on to Poland. Roosimägi speculated about why it was not shot down.

"Air defense and anti-aircraft matters have been completely neglected for the last 30 years," he said, adding air defense need to constantly monitor their airspace. "Consequently, Poland's air defense radar system did not work at that time," he said.

The incident was caused by Russia's large-scale missile attack against Ukraine and is another reason why the country needs more help, analysis Kalev Stoicescu told AK.

"Ukraine must be provided with more powerful offensive weapons capable of destroying Russian military objects and Russian infrastructure, not only in the occupied territories, including Crimea, but also in regions bordering Ukraine," Stoicescu said.


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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