This “collision” made history, when a Russian Geran-2 suicide UAV destroyed a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter and became a “legend”, it was the first time a UAV has knocked down a fighter aircraft.
We are witnessing historic moments in military technology; Nearly two years ago, a Turkish unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacked a soldier without the operator’s command.
And more than a week ago, a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter was shot down by a Geran-2 UAV. Both incidents were the unintended result of, not the weapon’s proven combat capability.
Recently, the Russian Geran-2 suicide drone, classified as a “loitering” munition, flew over Ukraine. Russia continues to deny the use of UAVs supplied by Iran, but the number of Russian UAVs used to attack Ukraine, is increasing.
On October 12, a MiG-29 fighter jet of the Ukrainian Air Force crashed after “collision” with a Geran-2 UAV. The collision occurred around 9 p.m, when the pilot of the MiG-29 was tasked with attacking a swarm of Geran-2 UAVs, which were moving in a swarm pattern towards Ukraine.
Ukraine’s State Aviation Safety Investigation Bureau (SBI) said that the pilot and his MiG-29 shot down five Geran-2 UAVs near the village of Turbov.
SBI has now provided a report (still under investigation) on what happened and said that there was debris from one (or more) Geran-2 UAVs, which fell into the cockpit of the MiG- 29, it was the aircraft pilot bad luck.
According to SBI, this was not a direct “collision” between the MiG-29 and the Geran-2 UAV, causing the Ukrainian plane to crash. If the results of the SBI investigation are confirmed, it is the result of a “collision” of airborne weapons.
In the past, a Turkish Kargu 2 UAV in Libya, caused by an error in the identification system, mistakenly attacked a soldier.
The Russian Geran-2 suicide drone does not have weapons such as air-to-air or air-to-ground missiles, but is actually a type of cruise missile that attacks ground targets, but can be controlled.
Thus, the Geran-2 UAV can destroy another aircraft in the air in two ways. The first makes a direct hit to the target and triggers the explosion; the second is the same as the conclusion of SBI; The UAV spontaneously explodes when near the target, and the fragments of the UAV will become objects that destroy the aircraft.
In essence, the Geran-2 UAV is a type of suicide drone that cannot be recovered. Its main task is to destroy enemy ground targets; the occurrence of an air collision with a fighter jet, this can be a very “rare” case.
The pilot of the Ukrainian MiG-29 was able to use parachute to escape and was promptly taken to the hospital for treatment. SBI said it is continuing its investigations to determine the exact cause of the downing of the fighter jet.
What do Israeli experts say about the Geran-2 UAV?
Uzi Rubin, an Israeli defense engineer and military analyst and now a Research Fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, told a reporter for India’s EurAsian Times about the Russian Geran-2 suicide UAVs.
He explained that, Geran-2 is a very small, simple, low-flying unmanned aerial vehicle; equipped with a simple piston engine that drives a composite propeller.
“It looks more like a model plane than a weapon,” said Rubin.
“The Geran-2 is very easy to use, just load the target coordinates into memory and launch it with a small booster off the launch pad and it will fly”.
Its biggest advantage is that it is difficult to be detected by radar or photoelectric observation devices because of its small size (wingspan of about 2 meters) and slow speed. Geran-2 is generally below the detection threshold of most radars and its small infrared signature”; Rubin said.
When asked about the Iranian Mohajer-6 UAV, Rubin said that the Mohajer-6 is a different weapon, because it is relatively large (wingspan of about 10 meters), flying at an average altitude of about 5,000-6,000 meters.
“The Mohajer-6 is also quite slow and very easy to detect and shoot down with anti-aircraft missiles, even with the old Soviet weapons that Ukraine is using,” Rubin said.
This may explain why Russian forces do not use the Mohajer-6 UAV as often as the Geran-2. However, the Geran-2 also has some weaknesses, which Ukraine can exploit.
“Although the Geran-2 UAV is difficult to be detected (especially when flying at extremely low altitudes), if detected, it is very easy to shoot down because of its slow speed. Another disadvantage is that it depends on satellite navigation, which can block GPS or GLONASS satellite signals, causing Geran-2 to lose its direction,” said Rubin.
In addition, Geran-2 is also easily detected by engine noise from a distance of several kilometers. Ukrainian soldiers described the sound of the Geran-2 UAV’s engine as the sound of a motorbike or a lawn mower.
Ukraine’s air defense forces are using a combination of Soviet-era anti-aircraft weapons and modern systems provided by Western nations, to counter the threat posed by Russian UAVs.
Major General Borys Kremenetsky, Defense Attaché at the Ukrainian Embassy in the US, said that 9K33 Osa short-range missile launchers and self-propelled Shilka anti-aircraft guns, are very effective against Russian drones.
In addition, Kremenetsky also said that the German-made Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery system from the Cold War, which has been removed from combat service by the German Army and has just been given aid to Ukraine, is also being used, Kremenetsky said is very effective against suicide UAVs; before they can hit targets on the ground.