Tuesday, 05 December, 2023

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Russian drone strikes Ukrainian jet from long range


Russia has upgraded its ‘Lancet’ kamikaze drones to reach targets more than 80km away, a source close to the manufacturer has revealed. Video footage shared last week confirms this upgrade, with a camera on the nose of a Lancet drone capturing the moment a Ukrainian MiG-29 was obliterated as it sat at an airbase.

Circulating online since last Tuesday, the video shows the drone descending toward a military airfield near Krivoy Rog from high altitude. Honing in on a Soviet-era MiG-29, the drone rapidly draws closer until the camera feed is cut as it delivers its explosive payload directly behind the plane’s cockpit.

A second drone hovering nearby filmed the moment of impact. With the jet engulfed in smoke and fire, it is unclear whether the aircraft was left repairable after the blast.

Russia regularly uses Lancet drones to target Ukrainian equipment and armor. The  inexpensive devices have proved devastatingly effective against Western-made tanks. However, the strike on Krivoy Rog drew the attention of the Western media, as the distance between the Russian front line and the airfield was beyond the previously known range of the Lancet.

“The real problem is that Russia’s one-way ‘suicide’ drones apparently now range as far as 45 miles (72 kilometers),” Forbes wrote on Tuesday, noting that with the Krivoy Rog base and another similar facility near Nikolayev now within range, the development is “bad news for the scrappy Ukrainian air force.”

Developed by Zala Aero, a subsidiary of the Kalashnikov concern, two versions of the Lancet are currently in use by Russian forces. A smaller variant can carry a 1kg payload and fly for 30 minutes, while a larger version can haul 3kg of explosives and fly for 40 minutes.

Both were thought to have a range of around 40km, but a source close to Zala told Russia’s RIA news agency last week that the company “has introduced a number of innovations into the hardware and software complex of the Lancet unmanned system…which make it possible to variably use kamikaze drones outside the direct radio visibility of the ground control complex.”

As a result, the source said that Russian forces were able to hit the Ukrainian jet from a launch point of more than 80km away.

Credit: RT News

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