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Failures of Russian Precision-Guided Munitions Help Explain Russia’s Struggles in Ukraine

US intelligence officials leaked an official report on the effectiveness of Russian precision-guided munitions during the Ukraine attacks. The United States has assessed that Russia has experienced failure rates of up to 60 percent on some of the precision-guided missiles used to strike Ukrainian targets, three US officials with knowledge of the intelligence reported to Reuters.

The revelation could help clarify why Russia hasn't been able to accomplish what many would consider fundamental goals since it invaded Ukraine a month ago, such as neutralizing Ukraine's air force, despite the apparent strength of the Russian military compared to the smaller Ukrainian army.

It is reported that US officials, who spoke under oath due to the sensitive nature of the data, could not offer evidence to back up the assertion and did not reveal the exact reasons behind such high Russian missile-failure rates.

One of the mainstay news items of social-media platforms reporting from Ukraine has been the high number of cruise missiles that haven’t exploded.

Explosion problems aren't unheard of. The most well-known example was seen in the Mark 6 exploder used in the Mark 14 and Mark 15 torpedoes employed by the US Navy until September 1943. The shortcomings of the explosive and the torpedo led to an unreliability rate of more than 50 percent for the typical submarine torpedo. Navy weapon designers, who wanted to reduce the costs of conducting field tests, were largely responsible.

Precision-guided munitions are crucial in modern combat. However, in Ukraine, the proliferation of air-defense systems, specifically MANPADS (man-portable air-defense systems), has made flying at heights of less than 10,000 feet extremely hazardous. In the same way, dropping gravity bombs at a height of 10,000 feet, given the experience of the Russian Air Force–which was able to fly for eight hours a month prior to the war, isn't much different than using a trebuchet.

If this report is correct, it could be a sign of huge manufacturing and design issues in Russia's arms industry.

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