In recent months, Russia has launched Iranian-made Shaheds against several Ukrainian cities. kyiv has also used them to attack in Crimea and the Russian border region of Belgorod.
the drones have marked the war in Ukraine like never before and have evolved from small quadcopters with cameras and grenades to integrate bombs and warheads with targets in kyiv and Moscow.
In recent months, Russian troops have launched Shahed Explosive Drones, of Iranian manufacture, against several Ukrainian cities. kyiv has also used them to attack key points in the Crimean peninsula and the Russian border region of Belgorod.
The Russian government even accused Ukraine on Tuesday of attacking Moscow with these devices. Its use and characteristics have evolved over time.
The Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone It was one of the “symbols of the first moments of the conflict” for the Ukrainian resistance, summarizes the French researcher Leo Peria-Peigne, from the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI).
artifacts played a key role to stop the arrival of Russian tanks from Belarus or in the sinking of the “Moskva”, the flagship of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea.
But the models – known as MALE [siglas en ingles de altitud media y largo alcance]- have lost relevance as the conflict has dragged on.
“The front stabilized and became impenetrable as the Russians deployed their” anti-aircraft systems, a European defense industry source explained on condition of anonymity.
This drone model became vulnerable, so “it doesn’t fly as much anymore,” he added.
Drone warfare, much cheer than missiles, it is now a question of numbers.
Most of the explosive drones are shot down by air defense systems and force “the defenders to fire their missiles to exhaust them,” a French military source said.
“It also generates terror and uncertainty all the time.. In the long run, it has some value,” he added.
Ukrainian forces use “long-range explosive drones, sometimes Chinese models with Chinese propellers or old Soviet-era reconnaissance drones: the Tu-141. These have explosive charges and can hit targets deep inside Russian territory,” detailed the industrial source.
Russian industry, for its part, it can only provide “about 40 long-range missiles a month”. For this reason, Moscow launches a large number of drones “to increase the number of threat axes, using Shahed-136 drones as scouts to identify gs in the Ukrainian defense,” said Jack Watling and Nick Reynolds of the British think tank RUSI .
Most of the drones –small in size– are used close to the front to carry out reconnaissance work identification of targets or attacks.
Ukrainian troops have posted numerous videos on social media showing modified commercial drones dropping bombs on Russian positions.
“It is common to count between 25 and 50 drones from both sides that operate in the disputed area between the two front lines for stretches of 10 kilometers”, according to RUSI experts.
Ukrainian Furia and Russian Eleron-3 tactical drones They have a radius of action of about 50 km.. On the other hand, small quadcopters have a radius of less than 10 kilometers.
Their omnipresence forced each side to deploy electronic defense systems to shoot them down cheer than missiles.
“The Russian army deploys an electronic warfare system every 10 km of frontage”, according to RUSI.
“The Russians have strengthened their electronic warfare systems. It’s a big change,” said the French military source.
The Russians assigned “anti-drone cabilities to each unit, generally including” systems to interfere with communications and navigation softwarehe added.
“The anti-drone rifle is the base of the defense. What works are radio frequency systems installed near the front area, but (…) they have a very limited life expectancy because they are shot at,” explained the industrial source. .
They are “large spheres placed on tripods with generators”, so they are easy to identify, he added.
Drone losses are very high. “Each drone is considered to fly between 4 and 6 times before being shot down”according to the military.
Drones will continue to be relevant in the conflict even if there are changes to the front line.