NewsUkrainian drone strike shakes Russian defenses in Crimea

Ukrainian drone strike shakes Russian defenses in Crimea

Ukrainian drone off the coast of Crimea
Ukrainian drone off the coast of Crimea
Images source: © X

4:43 PM EDT, May 18, 2024

In the early morning of May 16, Ukrainians conducted a massive drone attack on Sevastopol and Novorossiysk. The Russian Ministry of Defense claims they managed to neutralize over a hundred drones, including 51 over Crimea itself. The exact number of drones that ultimately reached their targets is unknown. However, images of the devices used by Ukraine for the strike have started appearing online. One of the images shows an unmanned boat armed with an R-73 missile designed for engaging aerial targets.

The photo depicts a Ukrainian surface drone that washed ashore in the Sevastopol area. Experts from the open-source intelligence account Ukrainian Front on the platform X point out that the drone is armed with an R-73 missile (NATO code AA-11 Archer). This weapon is typically seen mounted under the wings of MiG-29 or Su-27 fighters. It is worth noting, however, that Ukrainians are known for their creative approach to armament and its modifications.

Ukrainian drone off the coast of Crimea

The R-73 is an air-to-air guided missile designed for short-range aerial target destruction. It is considered equivalent to the newer versions of the American AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. The R-73 is about 10 feet long and has a diameter of approximately 8 inches. It weighs 231 pounds and carries a 16-pound fragmentation warhead. The missile can travel at speeds up to Mach 2.5 (1901 mph) and has a range of up to 19 miles.

The R-73 is praised for its high maneuverability, facilitated by its gas-dynamic control. This, combined with thermal homing, offers an effective solution for combating enemy bombers, fighters, or transport aircraft, regardless of the time of day or the direction of the approaching aircraft. It is possible that their role during the strike on Crimea was to weaken the Russian air force.

Massive attack by ukrainian drones

The attacks on the Russians involved both airborne and maritime drones. The maritime drones, in particular, have posed a significant nuisance for the Black Sea Fleet stationed in Crimea. Ukrainians possess several models of these unmanned vehicles in their arsenal, which have repeatedly thwarted the Kremlin's plans. Among them are the multipurpose surface vessel Magura V5 and the Sea Baby drone. The kamikaze-type underwater drones known as Mariczka also pose a serious threat.

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