223 suicide drones (UAVs), accounting for 85% of the total number of Russian UAVs used, were shot down by Ukraine, an achievement that is not bad, but why are the leaders of the Ukrainian Army and NATO still worried?
Since Russian suicide drones were introduced into the Ukrainian battlefield, they have achieved excellent results; Even US military experts have to admit: “Russian suicide drone attacks cause serious damage to Ukraine’s military and economy.”
As for Russian suicide drones, the Ukrainian military has tried its best, even with the dedicated help of NATO, to not have to use all the existing air defense systems to deal with these UAVs.
According to the announcement of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, so far, they have shot down at least 223 Russian Shahed-136 suicide drones.
According to Ukraine’s data, 223 Shahed-136 UAVs that they successfully intercepted, accounting for 85% of the total number of suicide UAVs that Russia used throughout the Ukrainian battlefield; In terms of interception rates, this figure is generally relatively high.
Despite the beautiful “reported” numbers by Ukraine, the actual situation shows that, even if only 15% of Russia’s Shahed-136 suicide drones hit their targets in Ukraine, it is still enough to cause large damage and meet the requirements of the Russian side.
Even in an air battle between the Shahed-136 suicide drone and the Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter, the Shahed-136 destroyed the MiG-29. To intercept this type of suicide UAV, Ukraine has done everything possible, but the Shahed-136 is still the source of “new headaches” for the leaders of Ukraine and NATO.
The problem that worries NATO leaders when dealing with Russian suicide drones is not because NATO does not dare to provide Ukraine with advanced air defense systems capable of intercepting these suicide UAVs; It is the use of missiles costing millions of dollars to shoot down UAVs costing several tens of thousands of dollars.
William Alberque – Director of International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said at a press conference: “Defending against low-cost UAVs is difficult and expensive; Attackers have a variety of tactics, choosing the one that does the most damage to the opponent.”
In general, there are two tactics for suicide UAVs: first, using a large number of UAVs to attack different targets from unexpected directions; the second is to use a large number of suicide UAVs, spilling from all directions to attack the same target. Thus, the enemy’s interception ability will be saturated.
Like the Shahed-136 suicide drone’s attack on a Ukrainian MiG-29, fully reflecting the dangers of cheap suicide drones; it doesn’t need to be too precise, just try to touch the target. That is also the reason why Russian suicide drones are the source of headaches for the leaders of the Ukrainian Army.
For Ukraine, the construction of a reliable anti-UAV air defense system is no less important than an anti-missile air defense system. However, solving the problem of using expensive missiles to destroy cheap UAVs is not an easy answer, even for the Americans themselves.
In 2017, a $200 commercial drone, sold on the Amazon shopping website, infiltrated the US military’s air defense system. This forced the US Army to use a $ 2 million PAC-2 air defense missile to shoot down this $ 200 4-axis UAV.
Of course, NATO not only has Patriot missiles that can shoot down UAVs, they have also tried to use some electronic warfare weapons to soft-press the UAVs. Especially the German self-propelled anti-aircraft gun Gepard (new aid to Ukraine) is also an effective anti-UAV weapon.
NATO commanders said that the best solution to combat the enemy’s small, low-cost UAVs, especially when the enemy uses UAVs to attack in a swarm fashion, is to track down the origin of these UAVs. such as launch bases, launch vehicles; to destroy the root; That’s a much better solution than using expensive missiles. However, is this possible with Ukraine, when the opponent using the UAV is Russia?