US seizes advanced Russian military system in Libya | World Defense

US seizes advanced Russian military system in Libya

space cadet

Sep 2, 2019
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US seizes advanced Russian military system in Libya

In early June, U.S. military personnel secured an advanced Russian combat system in Libya.

The exact identity of the platform, now extracted out of Libya and subject to U.S. technical analysis, is unknown to me. But I am led to believe it is either the Krasukha-4 electronic warfare system or the S-350 medium-range air defense system. Both reflect higher-end Russian military capabilities, primarily designed to defeat NATO air operations. Such systems have taken on added value in Libya of late due to the success of Turkish drones in targeting older Russian air defense systems such as the Pantsir, which the U.S. military has already had analytical access to.
This U.S. success, under the authority of the Defense Intelligence Agency's foreign military exploitation program, is a significant one.
What do we know?
Well, speaking on the condition of anonymity, two current defense intelligence officials and one former official said that the military now has a highly advanced Russian military system under its control. It was secured from the control of a Russian military intelligence contractor, Wagner Group, which is supporting Khalifa Haftar's campaign to seize control of Libya away from the Government of National Accord, which is supported by the United Nations, the United States, and the European Union. Wagner Group, which operates under the authority of Russia's GRU military intelligence service, recently received Russian military fighter jets to support its operations.
That said, there is no evidence that the system was secured by the use of U.S. combat action. I reached out to numerous government agencies but received no request to avoid publication or omit details. Officials offered no comment on the specifics of this story but did not deny them.
Behind the scenes, however, U.S. officials are celebrating a significant win.
After all, Russian air defense and electronic warfare systems are the crown jewels of Russian President Vladimir Putin's military power. Indeed, Russian electronic warfare systems supersede U.S. capabilities in some areas. Reflecting as much, Russian military planning against NATO is focused around rapid territorial seizure followed by the establishing of strongholds protected by these advanced systems. The NATO concern is that, in the event of conflict, Russia would secure these strongholds, then seek to divide NATO member states by offering a favorable-to-Moscow ceasefire or continued conflict. To counter this strategy, the U.S., British, and French air forces train extensively to destroy these strongholds.
Thanks to what has happened in Libya, their ability to do so successfully finds new support. U.S. engineers and pilots will now be able to test how Russian systems can best be defeated or evaded.
The secondary benefit of this seizure is that it will directly undermine Putin's strategy with regards to Libya.
This matters in that Putin's Libya strategy is not ultimately designed to secure Haftar's control of the North African nation. That objective is only the bridging point. Putin wants to use Haftar's future power to establish Russian air defense systems along Libya's Mediterranean coast. These can then integrate with other Russian systems in place along the Syrian coast, effecting a simultaneous air denial strategy against NATO's southern and eastern flanks.
In short, thanks to what happened in early June, Putin's strategy got a little more complicated.