They were supposed to be retired, but with a little tweaking they work great in a new way. The S-200 Wega no longer hunts planes, but now it can attacks ground targets... in Russia of course.
According to a recent report by the British Ministry of Defence, Ukraine appears to be using the old S-200 Wega (NATO codename A-5 Gammon) missile system to attack ground targets. According to experts, there are more and more reports that suggest that Ukraine has withdrawn the weapon from its air defense role, modified it and is using it as a surface-to-surface ballistic missile to attack targets in Moscow, alongside kamikaze drones.
This goes hand in hand with reports from Forbes, which reported in July that Kyiv may repurpose obsolete weapons to replenish the dwindling stock of 9K79 Tochka ballistic missiles. A video has surfaced online showing a V-860 or V-880 (NATO: 5W21) missile, the ammunition used in the S-200 system, striking the ground in the Bryansk region of Russia, north of the Ukrainian border.
It is not clear how many such attacks took place - according to the Russian news agency Tass, one of them took place last Saturday in the Crimea, but Kyiv, for obvious reasons, does not admit to the attacks in Russia.
The S-200 Wega is a long-range anti-aircraft missile system, the origins of which date back to 1958, when the KB-1 design office began work on a new long-range mobile anti-aircraft missile system. This assumption was not fully implemented, because the time of rolling up and preparing the S-200 for transport was over an hour and a half, so it was certainly not a mobile system.
Nevertheless, it was characterized by the ability to engage targets moving at high altitudes, such as reconnaissance aircraft or bombers, which made it a very useful piece of equipment. Over time, the system has undergone many modernizations and modifications, e.g. a warhead resistant to active interference, the ability to launch missiles without having to be tracked by the launcher, the option of attacking two targets simultaneously or increasing the range.
There was also an export version, S-200WE Wega-E, which had a range of 240 km and could fight up to five targets simultaneously - it was equipped with the Polish Armed Forces, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Korea north.
As a result, the missiles at the disposal of the Ukrainians can hit air targets at a distance of 300 km and at an altitude of 40 km, and their range in the ground-to-ground version should be even greater. According to British intelligence, they definitely have a chance to reach Russian territory, which is of great strategic importance, since President Vladimir Putin probably attacked Ukraine, believing that it would have little effect on the Russians.