Ukrainian soldiers tell how they deal with Iranian kamikaze drones used by Russia

7 October 2022, 05:28 PM
Shahed-136 drones are called mopeds in the Ukrainian army because of the characteristic sound of the engine (Photo:REUTERS/Vitalii Hnidyi)

Shahed-136 drones are called mopeds in the Ukrainian army because of the characteristic sound of the engine (Photo:REUTERS/Vitalii Hnidyi)

Ukrainian troops have told journalists about how Russia uses its Iranian-made Shahed-136 kamikaze drones, details about their features – and how they can be located and destroyed.

In a comment to the Current Time television channel on Oct. 7, the Ukrainian military said there is not much reliable information about Shahed-136, because they are not mass produced.

“These machines are primitive,” said Yuriy Ihnat, a spokesman of the Air Force Command.

“They are made underground, in a semi-artisan way,” he said. “You have to understand – these are not machines that are made en masse, like (Turkish) Bayraktar drones and all kinds of U.S. and Israeli UAVs.”

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The Shahed-136 is quite cheap due to its simplicity. It flies straight at its target, has no expensive cameras or the ability to contact an operator on the ground. It is just programmed with target coordinates and launched.

According to the Ukrainian military, the drone is often launched at dusk or even at night to increase its effectiveness. But even in the dark, Ukrainian air defense units can hear a Shahed-136 coming from several kilometers away. It has a two-stroke engine, like a motorboat, lawnmower or moped.

That is why it has been nicknamed “the flying lawnmower” by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

“It has a motor like a Java motorcycle,” said a commander of the Ukrainian Army’s assault unit.

“It (can be heard) many kilometers before it’s above you. Second: they fly not so high and not so fast... so they can be destroyed with certain types of small arms. Thirdly, the amount of explosives is such that it’s irrational for them to bother with trying to attack personnel.”

Instead, the Shahed-136 is mainly sent to large static targets. These might be large, expensive pieces of military equipment, but even more often – buildings.

And kamikaze drones often fly in groups.

“The invaders are trying to conserve, as we noticed, their cruise missiles and missiles of different calibers, different types, because the Shahed drones we’re talking about, they, first of all, are much cheaper, they can be used much more often, they’re sometimes even sent in more than pairs,” said Serhiy Bratchuk, the spokesman of Odesa Regional Military Administration.

“We noticed the enemy could launch several such drones during one attack.”

According to the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Iran is unable to establish a full-fledged assembly line for such kamikaze drones, and has supplied Russia with only a few hundreds of them.

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