November 30, 2023

Brighton Journal

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The Russian drones doubled their range and collided with a Ukrainian MiG-29

The Russian drones doubled their range and collided with a Ukrainian MiG-29

A Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter before it was bombed by a Russian drone.
Ukrainian Arms Tracker/X

  • A video shows a Russian Lancet drone hitting a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter at an air base.
  • It was launched from a distance of about 50 miles, but Lancet drones had previously only reached up to 25 miles.
  • Russia is increasingly using drones, which are small and cheap, in warfare.

A Russian drone struck a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter that was about 50 miles from the nearest Russian position, suggesting that its small attack drones can now reach much further than before.

A video shared online appears to show the moment a Lancet drone drops explosives on the fighter jet as it sat on the tarmac at Dolzhentsevo Air Base near Kryvyi Rih. Forbes reported.

The Lancet is produced by a subsidiary of Russian arms manufacturer Kalashnikov and was introduced in 2019.

Previous versions of the drone had a range of about 25 miles, weighed about 35 pounds, and could fly at speeds of about 70 miles per hour. Forbes mentioned.

However, a spokesman for the drone’s manufacturer, Zala Aero, said the MiG-29 was hit “more than 80 kilometers,” or about 50 miles, from the drone’s launch point, Russian media reported. RIA Novosti Quoting a source familiar with the matter.

The source added that the drone “has truly become a long arm on the front lines.”

Insiders were unable to independently verify the video.

This development poses a new challenge for the Ukrainian Air Force, whose main air bases were previously out of reach of Russian small attack drones.

Russia has stepped up its use of Lancet drones in Ukraine in recent months, using cheap drones to try to hit high-value targets. Reuters mentioned.

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Samuel Bendet, an analyst and expert in unmanned and robotic military systems at the Center for Naval Analyzes, said, citing publicly available Russian sources, that small “kamikaze” drones cost about 3 million rubles, or about 31 thousand dollars.

An image of what appears to be a Lancet drone in Ukraine, in a print dated January 22, 2023.
Ukrainian Ministry of Defense/Handout via Reuters

Drones are difficult to intercept due to their slow speed and low altitude, as many air defense systems are designed to operate against fast-moving targets.

They were most effective against light armored vehicles, artillery systems and older tanks.

“If this strike occurred as it did, it would likely confirm that this drone may have been operated by Russian special forces, who are regular users of The Lancet,” Bendet told Insider.