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Russia Has Precision Weapons & Could Avoid Attacking Children & Civilians

Did Russia use precision to attack hospital targets, meaning they were deliberately chosen to terrorize the population? Warrior Maven interviews Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula, Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies for insights

By Kris Osborn - President & Editor-In-Chief, Warrior Maven

"The Russians have attacked hospitals in over 18 circumstances," .... 

An experienced Air Force Air Warfare Commander expects Putin to wind up in International Criminal Court for what clearly seems to be a deliberate attempt to murder children, innocent civilians and even hospital patients and pregnant mothers.

"The Russians philosophy is not one that is concurrent with the laws of armed conflict, or the Geneva Conventions. As, you know, the actual statistics over the last two weeks is that the Russians have attacked hospitals in over 18 circumstances. I'm here to tell you that I'm pretty certain that we're going to see Vladimir Putin in front of the International Criminal Court and prosecuted not unlike Milosevic, Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula, Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, told Warrior in an interview.

Deptula commanded the Gulf War Air Campaign as well as the air attacks over Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, and is therefore quite familiar with precision weaponry. The Gulf War represented the combat debut of stealth technology in the form of the F-117 Night Hawk as well as the use of precision-guided, air dropped bombs called Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMS). Air Dropped precision weaponry existed 30 years ago, and land fired precision weaponry such as Excalibur GPS-guided artillery entered combat in Iraq in 2007. The technology is here and has been here.

2S35 Koalitsiya-SV

2S35 Koalitsiya-SV

Global Firepower, for instance, publishes data on Russia's 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV artillery system is specifically engineered to fire precision-guided artillery rounds at distances up to 70km. The system, which emerged in 2018, is fully capable of placing artillery rounds on exact locations with complete precision, meaning Russian land-fire could easily avoid attacking residential areas if the military leadership chose to. The self-propelled artillery platform fires 152mm artillery at high-speed rates up to 20 rounds per minute.

"Because of their complete and total disregard of avoiding civilian casualties in quite frankly, the intentional targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure. So the Russian military is not interested in the precision use of the munitions that they have," Deptula said.

Russia also operates a precision-guided "Tornado-S" variant of its 9A524 Tornado self propelled rocket launcher. It is an 8X8 wheeled armored vehicle with an all-digital Fire Control System and a precision targeting technology called "Global Navigation System," according to Global Firepower. The weapon has an extremely lethal operational range of 90km.

Medics perform CPR on a girl injured during the shelling of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine.

Medics perform CPR on a girl injured during the shelling of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine.

Given these available fact, the question is .. did Russia use precision to attack the hospital targets, meaning they were deliberately chosen as a way to kill and terrorize the population? Or was it due to the indiscriminate use of "dumb" or non-precise munitions. When asked about the kind of rockets used in this attack, Pentagon officials told reporters it it not yet known if the attack used a precision-guided weapon.

Either way, the killing of civilians is unquestionably intentional.

Intv. with Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula

Hello and welcome to Warrior Maven, the Center for Military Modernization. I'm Kris Osborn, very significant guest today and amazing American, the Commander of the Gulf War air campaign as well as Operation Enduring Freedom, retired Lieutenant Colonel David Deptula. He is a former F-15 pilot as well and currently serves as the Dean of the very prestigious Mitchell Institute for Aerospace studies. Sir, it's a pleasure to have you thank you for your expertise.

Precision Munitions

Kris Osborn

I have to ask you about precision munitions. Given your expertise, having w the Gulf War, I recall the advent of land fire, GPS, artillery, 2007 2008 and rockets. Sure enough, you were there overseeing the advent of GPS from the air JDAMs precision guided air dropped weapons. Clearly, any quick look at the Russian papers and publicly available information will tell you the Russians have precision weaponry, both ground on the rockets, as well as likely from the air, yet there are these deliberate bombardments and murdering of children?

Lieutenant General David A. Deptula (Ret.)

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"The Russians philosophy is not one that is concurrent with the laws of armed conflict, or the Geneva Conventions. A, you know, the actual statistics over the last two weeks is that the Russians have attacked hospitals in over 18 circumstances. I'm here to tell you that I'm pretty certain that we're going to see Vladimir Putin in front of the International Criminal Court and prosecuted not unlike Milosevic, Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula, Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, told Warrior in an interview

An experienced Air Warfare Commander says he expects Putin to wind up in International Criminal Court for what clearly seems to be a deliberate attempt to murder children, innocent civilians and even hospital patients and pregnant mothers. 

"The Russians philosophy is not one that is concurrent with the laws of armed conflict, or the Geneva Conventions. A, you know, the actual statistics over the last two weeks is that the Russians have attacked hospitals in over 18 circumstances. I'm here to tell you that I'm pretty certain that we're going to see Vladimir Putin in front of the International Criminal Court and prosecuted not unlike Milosevic, Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula, Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, told Warrior in an interview. 

Air Supremacy

Kris Osborn

Well, sir, what do you make of this thus far, the Pentagon consistently says there has been no air supremacy established some discussion about the effectiveness of Ukraine fighters, and of course, the addition of air defenses, the specifics about which air defenses Ukraine getting are not available naturally for security reasons, but the Pentagon says air defenses are going to the Ukrainians, of course, the Russians have their air defenses. Why haven't they if they have so many more aircraft, the Russian have as many as 700 fighter aircraft - why don't they have air superiority?

Lieutenant General David A. Deptula (Ret.)

It's a great question, Kris And it's a difficult one to answer because I tell you right up front, the wars not going the way Putin expect expected. With the exception of the some of the initial long range airstrikes, almost everything about the initial salvos of the Russian invasion failed. Ukrainian air defenses were not disabled. 

Ukrainian airfields were not put out of action. Ukrainian defenders were able to hold their ground. Ukrainian reserves and civilians rapidly mobilized. And surprisingly, as you said, Russia didn't effectively integrate electronic warfare into its military attack. And their failure to achieve air superiority is really puzzling, as I know, you know, but control the air is a prerequisite to both freedom to attack and to be free from attack. 

So this is why the transfer of the 28 Polish MIG 29 into Ukraine is so important. And it should have happened already, quite frankly, without all the fanfare going on in the media. It should have been done quietly, with Ukrainian pilots taking the train to Poland, flying the Jets back to Ukraine painting over the thin flashes from Poland, and getting them into the fight. 

Once they were there, no one could know or tell which aircraft came from Poland. This isn't rocket science. Now, the claim that the fighter aircraft transfer was not likely going to change the effectiveness of the Ukrainian Air Force against the Russians is simply not accurate. 

The Ukrainians need them for sustainment of their air force. Because when you use fighter aircraft in combat, in fly them often and hard they tend to break. So the additional MIG 29 would help sustain Ukrainian defense against Russian aggression. 

I'm still hopeful that there will be an opportunity to shift those aircraft. And let me share with you an option that kind of parallels how the US circumnavigated the US Neutrality Act in its run up to World War Two in 1940. 

You might have read about in your history, that because of the neutrality laws, the United States refused to directly deliver armaments to Britain at the beginning of the war. And then Winston Churchill called President Roosevelt and he begged for the delivery of the aircraft. So here's what the US did. They told him that it wasn't possible to fly the aircraft directly. So what the US did was move the aircraft to the US Canadian border. And then Britain took delivery of them by pulling them into Canada by horses and trucks. 

So the Poles could fly their MIG 29, two roads next to Ukraine, and Ukrainians. could then throw them over the border. So that's an option. And again, it needs to be done quiet. But it's something that's very important, because I'm here to tell you, the recent DoD announcement that the transfer of these aircraft might be viewed by the Russians is escalatory, and therefore, high risk to the US and more dangerous to Ukraine is pure deterrence it's deterrence the US military by the Russians. And it's indicative of the significance of the decline of US military power. 

If we transfer a pocketknife to Ukraine, Putin is going to object a weapons system is a weapon system. So NATO right now is giving Ukraine rifles and missiles, it's time to give aircraft that can help them immediately put to use defending their people as well.

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest and President of Warrior Maven - the Center for Military Modernization. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President, Center for Military Modernization