Air Defense Systems – Then and Now

The sound of an air raid siren has become all too familiar in the Ukraine-Russia war, and it’s been a sound that people all over the country of Ukraine have heard in the last year and a half. 

Air defense and the air raid sirens that go with them are not unique to Ukraine or this war. Air defense actually originated during the First World War, when it occurred between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the country of Serbia.

This episode dives into key developments we’ve seen in aviation and anti-aircraft weaponry, different types of man portable air defense systems (also known as man pads), how particular air defense systems are being used in both Ukraine and Russia, and more. Air defense has been absolutely critical to Ukraine’s efforts to maintain their viability as a nation state. The Ukrainian President, President Zelenskyy, has even shared that the battle in the sky is at least as important as the battle on land. 

For now, the Russians have not been able to exercise air superiority over large parts of Ukraine. In spite of all of the tactics the Russians have been using to try and cripple the Ukrainian infrastructure, Ukraine has been able to maintain their independence, and they’re continually working hard to win the Air Defense War for their country.

Interesting Fact: 

The Ukrainian Air Defense System is a really key mix of acquired systems, as well as systems that were indigenous to the country when it received its independence from the old Soviet Union.

Episode Timestamps:
  • The start of air defense and air raid sirens {01:15}
  • Key developments in aviation and anti-aircraft weaponry {02:40}
  • The significance of the Vietnam war and air defense systems {06:26}
  • Various types of man portable air defense systems {07:25}
  • How certain air defense systems are now playing an important role in Ukraine {09:04}
  • Weapon systems the Russians are using in Ukraine and how both sides are being affected {10:40}
  • The unique, layered defense system Ukraine has been able to build {13:10}

“The Ukrainians suffered the targeting of their electricity grid, their water system, their oil and gas supply, and other parts of their civilian infrastructure, but they’ve still been able to survive this because they’ve been able to deploy a massive air defense system.”

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