Russian Frogfoot Downed by Piorun MANPADS, Ukrainian National Guard Reports

Ukrainian National Guard soldier with a Piorun MANPADS.
Ukrainian National Guard soldier with a Piorun MANPADS.
Photo. Ukrainian Armed Forces via Twitter.

Ukrainian National Guard has reported the downing of a Russian Su-25 attack aircraft, with the use of MANPADS. The photographs attached show the use of the Polish Piorun system.

The downing reportedly took place on 6th March, 6.15 PM. After the Su-25 was detected, the Ukrainians have launched two missiles, destroying the target.

The Piorun system is a development of the Polish Grom MANPADS - its predecessor. It is one of the best contemporary SHORAD solutions around. Currently, it is being manufactured for the Polish Armed Forces. Piorun is an IR-guided, shoulder-launched missile. It is also used as armament for the Poprad and Pilica SHORAD systems. The system has been recently procured by the US Army as well. Meanwhile, responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Poland decided to deliver some of these systems to Kyiv.

Piorun can be used against air threats at a distance of up to 6.5 kilometers, flying at altitudes ranging from 10 meters to 4 kilometers. The missile features a digital seeker unit - this makes it virtually insensitive to jamming. It is also capable of neutralizing fixed- and rotary-wing assets, or UAVs, or even cruise missiles. Piorun is an all-weather weapon, thanks to the optoelectronic targeting device within the launch mechanism. The Piorun MANPADS is manufactured by the Mesko company, a part of the PGZ Group. The guidance unit has been developed by CRW Telesystem-Mesko.

It remains unclear, how many of the Russian aircraft have been downed by the Ukrainians, with the use of the Piorun missiles. The unofficial rumors mention several examples. However, the above case is the first that may be considered to be an official one.

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Ukraine also operates Stinger, Strela, and Igla MANPADS, the first one delivered by the US, and the latter two being Russian-made.