Ukraine, kamikaze drones: what they are and which ones are used

They are small unmanned aircraft, designed to strike beyond enemy lines and be destroyed in the attack

Kiev, Vinnytsia, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia and other cities in Ukraine have been targeted by drone attacks, the Kiev government denounced, insisting with Western countries to increase support for the country and asking allies for air defense systems. Russia is accused of having launched a series of ‘kamikaze’ drone attacks in recent weeks and, CNN points out, if drones have played a significant role in the conflict since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (last 24 February), their use has increased since Moscow obtained new drones from Iran in the summer, and Ukrainians have also used kamikaze drones to hit Russian targets.

– I. kamikaze drones they are small unmanned aircraft. They are called ‘kamikaze’ because they are ‘disposable’, designed to strike beyond the enemy’s lines and be destroyed in the attack. Called ‘loitering munition’, they are able to wait in an area identified as a potential target and to strike only once the target has been identified. They are portable and can be launched easily, from a distance. Among the advantages there is also the difficulty in intercepting them.

Russia, according to the Ukrainian military and US intelligence, is using Iranian-made drones for the attacks. In August, US officials told CNN that Moscow had bought SHAHED series drones and that Russian forces were training in the use of these relatively small devices, capable of carrying missiles and weighing up to 50 kilos and therefore inflicting significant damage.

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Russia has ordered 2,400 Shahed-136 drones from Iran, which even today has denied supplying weapons to “parties to the conflict”. But Ukraine, CNN recalls, said its forces shot down one of these drones for the first time last month near the city of Kupyansk in the Kharkiv region. And on Wednesday, the Ukrainian military said it had shot down 17 Shahed-136 drones in a single day while according to images released by the Ukrainian authorities, Russia has ‘renamed’ the Shaheds and is using them with the name ‘GERAN’.

Russia also has ‘its’ kamikaze drones, manufactured by Kalashnikov Concern, and on Wednesday Ukraine claimed it shot down two of these ZALA LANCET drones.

THE Ukrainian military used RAM II kamikaze drones, developed by a consortium of Ukrainian companies and purchased with money raised by the Ukrainians, capable of carrying 3 kilos and with a flight range of up to 30 kilometers. And among the weapons sent by the US to Ukraine there are, CNN points out, also SWITCHBLADE drones, small kamikaze drones. The Switchblade 300 can hit targets up to 9.6 kilometers away, while the range of the Switchblade 600 exceeds 32 kilometers. In May, the US also sent the ‘PHOENIX GHOST’ drones, believed to be similar to the Switchblades, to the Ukrainian military. 850 BLACK HORNET micro-drones arrived from the UK. Ukrainians also used Turkish-made BAYRAKTAR TB2 drones.