Wed, 01 February 2023
The Daily Ittefaq

Russia steps up use of kamikaze drones in Ukraine

Update : 04 Jan 2023, 17:28

Russia is using simply constructed, single-use drones to terrorize civilians in Ukraine. Launching a proper defense against the attacks can be a costly exercise.

Mostly, they come at night. Residents in Ukrainian cities are hearing the explosions from Russian kamikaze drones with great frequency.

But the term "kamikaze" is actually somewhat misleading in this context. Kamikaze attacks were suicide missions carried out during World War II by young Japanese pilots who would crash their aircraft into Allied ships to create as much damage as possible. The death of the pilot was an intrinsic part of the entire concept.

Drones on the other hand, don't have human pilots. The term "single-use" would be more fitting, because unlike Turkish Bayraktar drones, which return after bombing attacks or reconnaissance flights, so-called kamikaze drones are destroyed during attacks.

Drones have caused considerable damage in Ukraine, as here in Kyiv. Photo: DW

The kamikaze drone model most commonly deployed in Ukraine is the Shahed-136. It's manufactured in Iran, though both Russia and Iran dispute the purchase of them. The Shahed-136 is around 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) long with delta wings that extend 2.5 meters. The drone can carry 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of explosives. It relies on a gasoline-powered rear propeller for propulsion. It's rather loud, and its top speed of 200 kilometers per hour (124 miles per hour) is relatively low.

It has a range, however, of up to 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles). Even if the actual range of the drone is actually a bit lower than its Iranian manufacturers claim, it's still significantly further than other kamikaze drones. The Shahed-136 drones can reach every Ukrainian city from Russia.

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