Unconfirmed reports claim Ukrainians deploying new kamikaze drone: Russian propaganda or real threat?
The Armed Forces of Ukraine have not officially responded to the reports of a new breed of kamikaze drones. However, it's well-known that Ukraine has been developing unmanned aircraft capable of striking targets in Russia for quite some time.
Appearance of Ukrainian Drones in Russia
Ukrainian aviation expert Anatolii Khrapchynskyi acknowledged in a WP Tech interview at the end of January that over 300 firms in Ukraine are involved in manufacturing drones, with varying propulsion systems, combat payload capacities, and ranges. Some of these drones can reportedly travel more than 620 miles (approximately 1000 km), virtually undetectable to the enemy.
As per Defense Blog, the alleged new kamikaze drone that supposedly made it to Russia features a black exterior, a jet engine, and a fragmentation warhead. The report points to the German-manufactured P400-PRO engine and its flying-wing design. Little is known about its specifications, target, or potential victims. Consequently, these Telegram reports could potentially be part of Russian propaganda.
We've reported numerous times that Ukraine possesses several unmanned aerial vehicles capable of reaching Russian soil, provided they can evade air defense systems. This includes the UJ-22 "Airborne" drones, among others. These multi-purpose unmanned aerial systems can operate 24/7, unaffected by prevalent weather conditions. The Ukrainian company UKRJET, its creators, asserts that the drone can conduct surveillance, search, and rescue tasks on behalf of the military, police, and rescue services.
The UJ-22 "Airborne" can hit a maximum speed of 99 mph (approximately 160 km/h), and its controlled flight range is 62 miles (approximately 100 km), and autonomous up to 497 miles (approximately 800 km). UKRJET states that the drone can continuously operate for 7 hours and can function under extreme temperatures ranging from -40°C (-40°F) up to 50°C (122°F). It's designed to carry payloads weighing up to 44 lbs (approximately 20 kg).
Other noteworthy drones include the "Beaver" kamikaze drones, which are classified as loitering ammunition with a range of up to 620 miles (approximately 1000 km). In July 2023, there were reports that the "Beavers" had reached Moscow. Their exact specifics are currently unknown, but drones of this type likely have the capability of traveling at speeds around 93 to 124 mph (approximately 150-200 km/h). Their design allows for rapid alterations in flight altitude to dodge enemy air defenses, which might explain their ability to penetrate deep into Russia.
"Rubaka" drones potentially pose a significant threat to Russia as well. These drones have a slightly shorter range of approximately 311 miles (about 500 km). As we've reported before, according to Defense Express, these drones can transport an explosive payload weighing from 2 to as much as 15 kg (approximately 4.4 to 33 lbs). Depending on the type of payload used, the weight is sufficient for the precision strike of a kamikaze drone to destroy, for instance, Russian artillery or cause causalities.