The war in Ukraine has been going on for more than two months, during which the defenders bravely confront the aggressor, inflicting incredible losses on him and even strengthening themselves with occasionally acquired equipment. Earlier, we described this practice to you in terms of vehicles and weapons, and today we are going to focus on another sector, because that of Russian drones in Ukraine, which does not have an easy life. in the Ukrainian sky.
Previous losses of Russian drones in Ukraine
When we explore information about the casualties on both sides of this conflict, we must be aware that we have the choice between Ukraine, Russia and the real version. Currently, we have access to both the Oryx data, which presents reliable evidence on the loss of each piece of equipment, and the calculations of Ukrainian officials. The Russians don’t provide any information about this, and due to the chaos of the war, we’ll probably never know the said truth.
So, if Ukraine is to be believed, so far Russia has lost 134 unmanned drones of all types. Data from the Oryx site indicates the destruction of 21 and the recapture of 11 Russian drones by Ukrainian forces, mentioning several types of these drones (Unmanned Air Systems). Are you curious to know exactly what we are talking about? You can read the most important ones below.
Orion Russian combat drone. Ukraine shot down 1 copy
Let’s start with Ukraine’s most significant success in terms of downing Russian drones, namely the successful hunt of the Orion drone. It was officially announced on April 9 and it was important news as it confirmed the effectiveness of medium-altitude air defense systems, highlighting Russia’s problem in gaining control of Ukrainian skies.
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The Orion drone (also called Inokhodets) is not just any equipment, but the most modern example of the Russian MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) class unmanned system, which means that it can fly for many hours at an average altitude (about 7.5 km). Responsible for this is the company Kronstadt Co., whose designers aimed to replicate the American Predator drone and thus provide Russia with the first unmanned cell of this class.
In practice, this drone can fly with a maximum payload of 200 kilograms, which can consist mainly of armament in the form of four missiles and, most likely, the same number of bombs. However, in its basic configuration, the Orion is a strictly reconnaissance drone, in which it can fly for 24 hours with a load of 60 kg (the maximum take-off weight is 1000 kg), climb to a height of 7500 meters and be at a maximum distance of 300 km from the operator, especially developing at a maximum speed of 200 km/h. This cruising speed, meanwhile, is 120 km/h.
Orlan-10 and Orlan-30. Ukraine destroyed 21 and recaptured 10
Orlan-10 drones are currently used by the Russians for reconnaissance and patrol purposes, so they do not pose a direct threat, but in practice they can indicate the positions of Ukrainian forces to artillery units. Their less advanced and older version of the -10 takes the form of a simple fixed-wing aircraft, which … well, it’s simpler than you might expect, because the Ukrainians have already shown on the hardware what builds this “Russian miracle of technology” up to $ 120,000. I recommend looking at it right away, because some design elements with a screw cap and a PET bottle in the form of a fuel tank are something you just have to see with your own eyes.
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On paper, the Orłan-10 is an example of a great reconnaissance drone, offering a flight endurance of up to 16 hours and a range of up to 1400 km. It takes off in the air with a special catapult to use the onboard parachute after the flight. It is powered by a Saito FA-62B single-cylinder gasoline engine with a capacity of 1 horsepower.
Its reconnaissance capabilities boil down to two basic elements: a modified Canon EOS 750D camera and an infrared camera. That works? It works, but we know very well that part of the Orłany-10 budget clearly went into someone’s pocket.
Ukraine also shot down an Orlan-30, an improved version of the original in terms of digital device and artillery fire control system. Unfortunately, we do not know the details of this drone, since the information about it only reveals photos of the crashed model, indicating the presence of a similar consumer motor and, in general, of the same project.
ZALA Aero KUB-BLA – Ukrainian forces destroyed 7 copies
In 2019, Kalashnikov, or more precisely, the ZALA Aero company belonging to this company, presented its own kamikaze drones to the world. We are talking about the KUB-BLA, which works on the principle of finding targets and direct targeting them with full impetus up to 130 km / h, accompanied by the detonation of an explosive with the power of a grenade at hand.
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The main advantages of KUB-BLA drones are trouble-free takeoff without attracting the attention of enemies, high accuracy of operation, ease of use and stealth. The company mentions that due to the small size and nature of the propulsion system, these $160,000 kamikaze drones are difficult to spot by air defense systems. It should be noted that the boarding of this fixed-wing drone is above all a payload of 3 kg, essentially consisting of a camera and an explosive.
You can read more about them in our full article: Russian KUB-BLA suicide drones in Ukraine. Artificial intelligence can dictate goals.
Six ENICS Eleron-3 reconnaissance drones already in the hands of Ukraine
Among the Russian drones involved in the war in Ukraine, the Eleron-3 models are unique in their own way, as the defenders have so far not (officially) destroyed any of them, but have already seized six of them. At least one of them is in perfect condition, since it is still in a suitcase, in which it can “travel” in the front, thanks to the possibility of folding its wings for transport (once unfolded, it measures only 83 x 56 x 23cm).
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Eleron-3 drones weigh 5.5 kilograms, and after taking off from a special slingshot, they can fly for at least 100 minutes at an altitude of up to 4,000 meters. They develop maximum speeds of 130 km/h using an electric motor and fly automatically, manually or semi-automatically through the air up to 25 km from the transmitter/operator station. They work with the use of GPS and GLONASS systems, and at the same time use an optical camera to mark targets.