​How Much Time it Took for russia to Prepare The Biggest Missile Attack on Ukraine

Tu-95MS with Kh-101 missiles / Open source illustrative photo
Tu-95MS with Kh-101 missiles / Open source illustrative photo

russian army needs quite a long time to build-up a stock of missiles to launch a massive attack on Ukraine’s infrastructure

The russian federation carried out another series of missile strikes targeted at critical infrastructure facilities and residential areas of Ukrainian cities. According to the preliminary information from Air Force of Ukraine spokesperson Yurii Ihnat, more than 100 cruise missiles were fired at Ukraine – more than in the October 10 attack.

As this article is written, the air raid alarm over most of Ukraine has been turned off, the aftermath is being investigated, the latest information says 73 out of over 90 russian missiles were downed by Ukrainian air defense. Minister of Energy of Ukraine Herman Halushchenko already said it was the biggest russian missile attack on power supply facilities over the war, with focus on northern and central Ukraine.

Read more: SAMP/T Air Defense System For Ukraine: Why It Is the Best Option That Europe Can Deliver, Its Specifications And How It Works

As we can see from all this period of time, it is massive missile shelling that becomes the most common method of russian forces attacking Ukraine because it creates a chance to break through the Ukrainian air defense.

Ukrainian S-300 has a potent range but cannot intercept many targets at once

The russian military seem to have realized the main issue of Soviet air defense systems which constitute the main capability of the Ukrainian Air Force as both primary means of protection and with the most quantity of units available. And the issue of these systems is limited multi-channel capacity.

In layman’s terms, most of the Soviet-era surface-to-air missile systems can intercept 1 or 2 targets at once. Furthermore, these SAM systems are over 30 years old on average, while cruise missiles are deemed as low-altitude and inconspicuous targets that are difficult to detect and destroy.

However, russia needs time to prepare for a massive attack, and we can tie the number of missiles launched by the russians on Ukraine up with the time they need to prepare the required stockpile and find the correlation.

For that purpose, we’ll look through the statistics from the Air Force Command of the AFU, starting with the October 10 massive attack. On that day, russian invaders fired 84 cruise missiles, 45 of them were shot down.

report of the Air Force Command on October 10
45 missiles of various types and 9 Shahed-136 UAVs, states the report of the Air Force Command / Credit: Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

The next day, on October 11, they launched 28 more, 20 were taken down. That makes 112 missiles in two days. Thereafter, there was a relative decrease in activity: between October 12 and 21, the total number of downed cruise missiles was 19.

The next "peak" was on October 22, the russians fired out a combined launch of 33 cruise missiles from air and sea carriers: 17 Kh-555/101 and 16 Kalibr missiles; 18 of them were intercepted.

After an 8-day break, 50 missiles entered Ukrainian airspace on October 31, with 44 of them destroyed by air defense. Then in two weeks, only a single attack was attempted with two missiles shot down on November 5.

downed russian cruise missiles on October 31
44 russian missiles were shot down on October 31 / Credit: UA War Infographics, Top Lead

So we can see an approximate "cycle" lasting about two weeks for replenishment of russian stocks with about a hundred missiles to launch them in several waves.

Read more: ​How IRIS-T Can Bolster Ukraine’s Air Defense, Can It Shoot Down an Iskander