What are the ‘kamikaze drones’ used by Russia against Ukraine | Ukraine and Russia

In recent weeks, key cities in Ukraine have again come under heavy Russian attacks, in most cases with bombs and missiles. But a new mode of aggression is growing on the battlefront: drones.

Ukraine accuses Russia of attacking several cities, including near the capital Kiev, with unmanned aircraft known as the Shahed-136, produced in Iran, which are destroyed during the attack. Because of this, they became known as “kamikaze drones”.

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Ukrainian serviceman inspects Shahed-136 “kamikaze drone” — Photo: Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/REUTERS

According to a report released on Wednesday (12) by the UK Ministry of Defense, the Shahed has a one-way attack with a range of up to 2,500 kilometers.

By not flying as high as some of their counterparts, anti-aircraft radars have more difficulty tracking them, however, they are visible to the naked eye, which makes it easier for aircraft with conventional combat systems to help in the shooting down of these drones.

The Ministry further believes that similar systems made by Iran were likely used in attacks in the Middle East, including against the MT MERCER STREET oil tanker in July 2021.

Drone Shahed-136 is seen in the sky over Odessa, Ukraine – Photo: Serhii Smolientsev/REUTERS

The equipment was built by “Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries Corporation” and has been in operation since 2021. Iran denies having sold this type of material to Russia.

Ukraine reported that Russia had launched a total of 86 Shahed-136s and claimed that 60% had been destroyed while in the air.

The same UK Ministry of Defense report cited earlier in this article argues that the Shahed-136 has only a small explosive charge.

“It is unlikely to be satisfactorily fulfilling the deep strike function for which Russia likely wanted to use it,” the document reads.

“The lack of a reliable, sustainable and accurate operational-level attack capability is probably one of Russia’s most significant shortcomings in Ukraine,” he concludes.

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