Ukraine’s Robust Response to Russia’s Intense Recent Drone Assault
In a pre-dawn assault, Russia unleashed a massive drone attack on Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, marking a significant escalation in its use of unmanned aerial vehicles. This attack, unprecedented in scale, involved around 75 explosive-laden drones. They predominantly targeted Ukraine’s most densely populated city, Kyiv.
The Ukrainian Air Force reported this as “a record number” of one-way attack drones, far surpassing previous incidents. In response, Ukraine’s military demonstrated remarkable air-defense capabilities, successfully intercepting 74 of the 75 Iranian-made Shahed drones during the intense six-hour onslaught.
This was the largest drone attack since Russia’s invasion in February 2022 and it also represented a strategic shift in Russian tactics. Russia strategically launched drones from multiple directions, utilizing a variety of flight paths, in a calculated effort to saturate and perplex Ukraine’s air defense systems. They have been doing this for a while. Mixing up launch locations, launch vehicles and launch directions to overwhelm Ukraine’s air defenses.
However, despite these efforts, the Ukrainian Air Force efficiently countered the attack, shooting down or nearly all the incoming drones. The scale of this operation was about double that of the previous largest drone assault on Kyiv, which occurred in May this year.
The Russian attack was on the expected lines
Russian long-range attacks on Ukraine primarily use Iranian-made Shahed drones. These drones are also known as suicide drones that dive into their targets and detonate on contact. They can travel more than 600 miles and carry payloads of 80 to 120 pounds. Pick a target, enter the location, launch it and forget it.
Russia also uses Lancet drones, a suicide drone that fires “slugs of molten metal that can shoot right past the add-on armor Ukrainian troops count on to protect their vehicles from drone attacks”. Since these drones are manufactured by Russia, they…