TechUkraine strikes back: How long-range drones are giving Russia sleepless nights

Ukraine strikes back: How long-range drones are giving Russia sleepless nights

Drones are increasingly attacking Moscow.
Drones are increasingly attacking Moscow.
Images source: © Licensor
11:59 PM EST, January 19, 2024

"This GUR operation employed the latest Ukrainian military resources. We're gathering information and have confirmation of successful hits on targets. Military facilities in Petersburg and the Leningrad region are now within Ukrainian forces range," reported a special services source to Ukrainian Pravda. Questioned if it was the inaugural attack of Ukrainian drones on the Leningrad region, the source responded: "It's not the first time, but there are differences, and the enemy felt it."

Ukrainian drones attack Petersburg

The Ukrainian Military Service reports that the drones deployed have a wingspan of about 20 feet and are equipped with a piston engine, carrying a warhead weighing approximately 6.6 pounds. However, the exact name and specifications of the devices that bypassed Russian air defense are not known. Russian media acknowledged the infiltration of, potentially, three drones.

The Ukrainian military industry, working actively to develop effective long-range drones, has constructed several models that match the description. Oleksiy Danilov, the Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), as far back as September 2023, confirmed that hitting targets at a distance of 435 to 621, and even 932 miles, no longer presents a challenge for the Ukrainian army. However, he did not detail the type of weapon possessing such capabilities.

It is well-apprised that the Ukrainians have several drones in their stockpile capable of giving the Russians sleepless nights. This category includes the UJ-22 "Airborne" drones, among others. These are versatile, unmanned aerial systems that can operate regardless of the time of day or year and irrespective of prevailing weather conditions. Its creators, the Ukrainian company UKRJET, maintain that the drone can "perform reconnaissance tasks, search and rescue operations catering to the military, police, and rescue services".

The UJ-22 "Airborne" drone can reach a top speed of 99 mph and ascend up to roughly 19,685 feet. Its controlled flight range is 62 miles, while it can cover as much as 497 miles autonomously. According to UKRJET, the drone can stay operational continuously for 7 hours and performs reliably even in extreme temperatures ranging from -40°C to as high as 122°F. It's designed to carry cargo weighing up to 44 lbs.

Another noteworthy model is the "Bóbr" kamikaze drones, deemed to fall under the cruising ammunition category with a range of up to 621 miles. In July 2023, there were claims of a "Bóbr" reaching Moscow. Their precise capabilities are undisclosed, but this type of drones can cruise between 93 to 124 mph. Their duck configuration enables swift altitude variation, avoiding enemy anti-aircraft defense, thus explaining their ease of advancing deep into Russia.

The Rubaka drones could potentially pose a substantial threat to Russia too, though their range is somewhat lesser, amounting to approximately 311 miles. As previously reported by Defense Express, these drones can carry an explosive payload weighing anywhere between 4.4 lbs to 33 lbs. Depending on the type of explosive used, the weight is sufficient for a precise drone strike to obliterate Russian artillery or cause human fatalities.

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