Will the S-300 double-range air defense missile that a special partner can provide help Ukraine in protecting the sky?
The Ukrainian military is likely to receive S-200 complexes from Bulgaria, which is a type of air defense missile with twice the range of the S-300 that the Kyiv armed forces possess.
Bulgaria will start supplying weapons to Ukraine. This is what the National Assembly of this country has decided after 9 months of keeping a neutral position. The move came as a surprise to Moscow.
Relations between Russia and Bulgaria – a member of the EU as well as NATO have been very deep as the two countries have many historical, religious, and cultural links. But after the Ukraine conflict broke out, things gradually changed.
After Russia abruptly stopped supplying Bulgaria with natural gas, making the former Balkan ally the first country along with Poland to take a blow with Moscow’s energy weapons, it changed change in Sofia’s attitude.
It remains unclear exactly what the Bulgarian government will provide Ukraine in the form of military aid. The Bulgarian army is generally armed with Soviet-style weapons. this facilitates the transfer to Ukraine.
Experts say that the S-200 and S-300 long-range air defense missile systems will be the biggest concern of Ukraine. It is clear that Kyiv needs such weapons to counter Russian ballistic and cruise missile air attacks.
According to official statistics, Bulgaria has 10 air defense systems of each type, they can be supplied in quantities of about 50%, or even delivered in full if there is an alternative source.
The range of the 5V21 missile ammunition equipped with the S-200 complex is over 200 km, which is more than twice the 90 km figure of the 5V55R bullet that the S-300PS systems of the Ukrainian Army are using today.
However, the 5V21 missile is quite bulky, has poor mobility, and is only suitable for intercepting bombers or command aircraft – early warning, it is almost useless against cruise missiles or missile’s ballistic fire.
Not only that, but the Bulgarian Army also has a number of other short-range anti-aircraft missile systems in its combat component such as Osa-AKM or Strela-10, which are likely to be the types that Ukraine has a greater need for than in comparison with the S-200.
Bulgaria had a hard time parting with its MiGs. The MiG-21 is the country’s main air defense fighter. The Bulgarian Air Force has a total of 11 MiG-29s, which means they don’t even have two full squadrons.
Although Bulgaria has ordered 8 F-16 Block 70/72 fighters, it turns out that their delivery will be delayed quite a bit. The above fact shows that it is difficult for Ukraine to receive the old generation fighters.
Bulgarian MiG-29s would be a good choice for the Ukrainian Air Force, but then Sofia would have to deal with the problem of protecting her skies with great difficulty.
Bulgaria will most likely get help from NATO member countries, but from the latest statements, it is clear that the government is looking to lease fighter jets from an ally, possibly F- 16.
In addition to fighters and anti-aircraft missiles, Bulgaria can also provide Ukraine with a number of other weapons, the most important of which are those in very large quantities, ie grenades or rockets for the system’s multiple rocket launchers.
The Bulgarian parliament passed a decision, in which the government was given a one-month deadline to present what military aid could be provided to Ukraine, which should be in accordance with the country’s capabilities.
Bulgaria has twice refused to provide weapons in the form of military aid to Ukraine. Previously, they only agreed to repair damaged equipment. But the latest developments show that the country’s government has tilted towards the West.