“We shot down the plane without firing a single missile. We saw the target. We turned on the lighting radar. At that time, a report of radar illumination was heard in the cockpit of the raschit (a combination of the words “Russian” and “fascist”). He realized that he had turned from hunter to target. The pilot must have been so stunned that he immediately ejected. The plane crashed,” J. Melnikas said.
The unit led by Mr. Melnik resisted Russian pilots in the Kharkiv region for more than half a year. The soldiers shot down 11 different military planes, two helicopters, two cruise missiles and 13 drones.
On the Day of the Air Force of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky awarded Mr. Melnik with the “Gold Star” Order.
Mr. Melnik said that sometimes there were large groups of enemy planes over Kharkiv, sometimes more than ten.
“Our unit stood against them alone. This means that as soon as we turn on the hardware to lock on and fire at the target, we immediately become a convenient, highly visible target for a dozen or so pilots. As soon as they see us, they do not hesitate to cancel their tasks to bombard military forces or objects and instantly concentrate on destroying our anti-aircraft missile complex,” J. Melnikas said.
According to him, the complex could only target one enemy target, so the crew had very little time to shoot it down.
“We had seconds. Activate the hardware, detect and hit the object. We turn on the lighting radar – indicators beep and flash in the writer’s cabin, signaling that he is already our target. All his associates in heaven know this. We execute a combat launch and quickly leave our position to escape enemy radar. In anti-aircraft combat, we target one target. We cannot see what the other planes are doing at the time. But we understand. Usually, at that time, they already launch their rockets at us,” said the fighter.
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