The Russian Federation has actively used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) since the beginning of the Donbas war. During the first years, some of them were launched from the neighbouring state’s territory and flew towards Ukraine. Later, the technique was changed. So, separate groups of drones in the occupying forces’ so-called 1st and 2nd Army Corps were created.

The first enemy aircraft were captured by the Ukrainian military in the summer of 2014.

“Today, we have almost all the unmanned aerial vehicles of the Russian Federation from ‘Orlan’ to ‘Grenade’ (models 1, 2, 3, 4), ‘Eleron,’ ‘Zastava,’ ‘Dozor’ and other types as trophy samples. There are a lot of quadcopters, which are also actively used by the Russian Federation,” says Vadym Skibitsky, the Ministry of Defence Main Intelligence Directorate representative.

Each such enemy drone is a confirmation of the Russian regular armed forces’ presence on the territory of Ukraine.

According to the statistics, 45% of drones were shot down by air defence, both anti-aircraft artillery and anti-aircraft systems, 40% by small arms, the rest of the trophies by the electronic warfare systems. Some drones fell by themselves due to technical malfunctions.

The intelligence reports that all the trophy drones have been disassembled and carefully examined by Ukrainian specialists. At the same time, the examination of downed equipment shows that the Russian Federation, after the sanctions’ imposition, is forced to replace foreign components (German, French, Japanese, South Korean) with Russian ones with lower quality and commercially used.  As a result, the tactical and technical characteristics deteriorate, and the robustness of these aircraft decreases.

Bohdan Marusyak

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