The Ongoing Russia-Ukraine War has proved that suicide drones are more effective than expensive cruise missiles in the battlefield. With their per unit price from a few thousand dollars to the most expensive one of $150,000, suicide drones has proved their effectiveness, accuracy and quality in the Ukrainian War.
Retaliatory missile attacks by the Russian Army, since the explosion of the Crimean Bridge from October 10 to now, have basically ended. With the current missile arsenal of the Russian military, it is simply impossible to maintain an attack intensity of dozens or even a few dozen missiles per day.
According to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, in the raids in recent days, cruise missiles launched by the Russian military every day are very limited, even some days there are none; and the famous tactical ballistic missile “Iskander-M” is also not used since a long time.
Although the total number of russian missiles being fired towards Ukraine has decreased, in contrast, the number of Kamikaze unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) used by the Russian military is increasing, with the number of dozens of aircrafts being launched towards Ukraine everyday.
For example, on the night of October 18, Ukraine’s capital Kiev was simultaneously attacked by 12 Kamikaze Shahed-136 UAVs. This is one of the largest attacks on the Ukrainian capital by drones of this type since they began to be used on the Ukrainian battlefield.
As noted by Western media in Kiev, anti-aircraft guns with headlights operated almost non-stop during the night. However, according to the evaluation of the video recordings of the local people, their interception efficiency is very low.
In a video taken by the people of Kiev, the anti-aircraft lights are very strong, highlighting the suicide UAV in the sky and the streams of bullets fire. However, despite the intense firepower, this UAV still easily passed right in front of the air defense system and accurately hit the target.
Although, earlier Russia was using suicide drones on Ukrainian Army in a limited number, or were only using them on a small scale. However, now the Russian Army is also using large salvo fire suicide UAVs and efficient tactics very effectively on a large scale.
Russian suicide drones not only destroyed Ukraine’s infrastructure, especially the power grid, but also consume a lot of Ukraine’s anti-aircraft missiles. This is an “asymmetrical” advantage of the Russian military, and the Ukrainian army lacks the means to counter it.
More importantly, in the very strict embargo of the West, Russia can still meet the supply of UAVs for the battlefield, because the structure of this weapon is much simpler than other weapons. Also it is very much cheap as compared to expensive cruise missiles.
The types of suicide UAVs that Russia is using, to be fair, have a lot of disadvantages. They have a limited range, bulky size, and emit extremely loud noise when flying. However, in return, the low cost and ease of manufacture are the absolute advantages of this weapon.
Many accusations about Russia buying drones from Iran have been made, but Tehran insists that there is no such thing, even challenging the US and the West to provide evidence of Iran selling lethal weapons.
Analysts say that the current Russian-used suicide drones are very cheap, ranging from $30,000 to $50,000 each, with more expensive versions not exceeding $150,000. If it is possible to produce UAVs at the same cost, there is no reason for Russia to import UAVs from Iran.
If you compare the Russian suicide UAV being used with the Russian-made Kh-101 or Kalibr cruise missiles, which cost up to 6 million USD per unit, the price of the suicide UAV is really too cheap, so it can be used with extremely large number, but the destructive power is not much less.
The targets of the Russian Army’s suicide missiles and UAVs in recent days have been critical infrastructure in Ukraine, including the power grid and ports. In addition, there are military targets such as headquarters, airfields, and air defense sites.
Experts and journalists from the Israeli TV channel Kan News say that, with the increasing number of attacks by the Shahed-136 suicide drone, no air defense system in the world can help Kiev against such weapons. Remember, Israel is a master of air defense warfare.
Given the current number of attacks by the Shahed-136 suicide UAV, the capabilities of Ukrainian air defense systems are very much limited. But if the number of Russian attacks increases, then Ukraine’s air defenses will likely be disrupted.
Given the relatively low cost of a suicide drone and its destructive impact, the Shahed-136 has many advantages over expensive Russian cruise missiles. And in the future, it will not be surprising if cheap suicide UAVs are used instead of “cruise missiles” of many conflicts.