The Threat of Shahed Drones in Ukraine


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The Threat of Shahed Drones

Major Ilya Yevlash vividly recalls the relentless presence of suspected Iranian “kamikaze” drones, known as Shahed drones, wreaking havoc in Ukraine on a daily basis since August 2022. These drones, utilized by Russian forces in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine, are described by Yevlash as destructive weapons that leave nothing standing in their wake.

The Shahed drones, specifically the Shahed-136 and 131 models, are single-use, long-range attack drones equipped with a built-in warhead. These drones can linger in a targeted area until an operator selects a target for detonation. Despite their relatively small payload, these drones have proven to be effective in causing significant damage to critical infrastructure and air defense systems.

Impact on Ukraine’s Defense

Impact on Ukraine's Defense

Ukraine first encountered Shahed drones in August or September 2022, with the initial attack reported in Kyiv, resulting in casualties. The deployment of these drones by Russia aims to exhaust Ukraine’s air defense capabilities by deploying them in groups and changing their trajectories regularly. Ukrainian forces have developed various radar systems to track the movement of these drones and employ a mobile fire group equipped with lasers and stingers to neutralize the threat.

Despite the challenges posed by the Shahed drones, the Ukrainian army has managed to destroy a significant number of them. The speed and distinctive sound of the drones make them relatively easier to track compared to other weapons used in the conflict.

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