Russia bombing incident in Georgia and NATO

Last week the Republic of Georgia charged that two military Russian aircraft, possibly of the SU type, violated Georgian airspace and had loosed some sort of precision guided bomb.  The Russian government of course, denied all culpability in the attack.

The pieces of the investigation are now starting to come together.  It was determined that only one aircraft, not two, flew over the border, and that the ordnance was not a bomb at all, but an anti-radiation missile called the Kh-58U, known by the NATO codename AS-11 Kilter.  Georgian Deputy Defense Minister Kutelia has pointed out that the aircraft were tracked by a Georgian radar station that is "highly sophisticated and up to NATO standards [emphasis added]".

In fact, the very radar station that tracked the Russian plane may have been the target.  The Georgian Ministry of Defense said that the missile landed near the village of Gori, which is 17 miles (27 km) from the Georgian radar station.  The AS-11 has a maximum range of 120 km.

It also appears that the initial assessment that the aircraft were of the SU type was correct.  The AS-11 was specifically built for the SU-24M  Fencer, a long range all weather attack aircraft.  Also, Georgia does not have any SU-24s in its inventory.

The investigation is still in its initial stages, but as Kutelia notes, Russia is intent on creating a "roadblock to Georgian NATO integration."
Last week the Republic of Georgia charged that two military Russian aircraft, possibly of the SU type, violated Georgian airspace and had loosed some sort of precision guided bomb.  The Russian government of course, denied all culpability in the attack.

The pieces of the investigation are now starting to come together.  It was determined that only one aircraft, not two, flew over the border, and that the ordnance was not a bomb at all, but an anti-radiation missile called the Kh-58U, known by the NATO codename AS-11 Kilter.  Georgian Deputy Defense Minister Kutelia has pointed out that the aircraft were tracked by a Georgian radar station that is "highly sophisticated and up to NATO standards [emphasis added]".

In fact, the very radar station that tracked the Russian plane may have been the target.  The Georgian Ministry of Defense said that the missile landed near the village of Gori, which is 17 miles (27 km) from the Georgian radar station.  The AS-11 has a maximum range of 120 km.

It also appears that the initial assessment that the aircraft were of the SU type was correct.  The AS-11 was specifically built for the SU-24M  Fencer, a long range all weather attack aircraft.  Also, Georgia does not have any SU-24s in its inventory.

The investigation is still in its initial stages, but as Kutelia notes, Russia is intent on creating a "roadblock to Georgian NATO integration."