Attack on Odessa
According to the Operational Command “South”, the drones flew from the sea. Two drones hit an administrative building in the port area, rescuers are extinguishing the fire. Another one was shot down by anti-aircraft defense forces.
It is currently known that a civilian was killed as a result of the attack. Local mass media publish videos of the consequences of the attack on the port, as well as the flight of drones.
Zelensky is already reacting
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to respond to the facts of the use of weapons by Russian troops in the Iranian proceedings.
“These are Iran’s steps against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state, as well as against the lives and health of Ukrainian citizens. Iran’s public leadership has repeatedly declared its neutrality and willingness to mediate in stopping Russian aggression against Ukraine,” said its press secretary Serhiy Nikiforov
How long has Russia been using Shahed drones?
Back in the summer, Western media reported that due to a lack of drones, Russia turned to Iran for help. To date, it is known about the order of about 1,000 units of various Shahed modifications, including reconnaissance ones. It is not known how many barrage munitions (kamikaze drones) the Russian side received.
At the end of August, The Washington Post wrote about the start of deliveries of Mohajer and Shahed drones to Moscow. In general, the purchase of several hundred units is planned. The information was officially confirmed in the White House, stating that for several days UAVs were loaded onto Russian transport planes at an airfield in Iran.
Around this time, the first reports appeared about the use of Iranian drones in the war in Ukraine. In September, Ukrainian forces shot down the first Shahed-136 kamikaze drone in Kupyansk (Kharkiv region). Moreover, it was immediately noticed on the wreckage that the Russians marked it as “Geranium-2”.
After that, reports of downed “Shahids” appeared more and more often. The other day, several unmanned aerial vehicles were shot down in the Mykolaiv region, and wreckage was also found in the Dnipropetrovsk region.
Characteristics of Shahed-136
The kamikaze drone of this type is a tailless drone with a rudimentary fuselage and main fairing. On the wing there are elevons and characteristic keel tips. The power plant includes a tail electric motor with an air propeller. The wingspan is 2.5 meters, the length of the body is about 2 meters, the declared flight range is allegedly at least 2,000 km.
Shahed-136 is guided to the target by coordinates using satellite and inertial navigation. Iranian media also reported the possibility of targeting using optical means. The installation for launch is made in the form of a container, at the same time it can contain five drones. The self-propelled installation is disguised as a truck.
In addition, these drones are able to take off in a “swarm” and target different targets. Shahed-136 can carry 4 or 8 missiles and is equipped with a self-destruct device. That is, after firing the combat stock, it hits the target itself.
Already in Ukraine, it turned out that they were equipped with engines the size of the engines on the old “Java” motorcycles. As a rule, drones operate in pairs – one below, the other above. If the first one is shot down, then the second one hits the target.
Today, Russian troops use these UAVs in the entire southern direction. You can recognize them by the sound – the engine works like on a moped or chainsaw.
How dangerous are they?
According to Yuriy Ignat, the spokesman of the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Shahed drones carry a lot of weapons – three times more than Bayraktar, which is widely used in response to Russian aggression.
“Let’s hope that it is not too well made, and our anti-aircraft guns will shoot them down, like all other enemy UAVs,” he added.
Note that this statement was made before the first recorded facts of the use of Shahed-136. Later, British intelligence reported that Russia was using them for tactical rather than strategic strikes in the Ukrainian rear. As it turned out, this is a rather difficult air target, and in order to successfully shoot them down, additional air defense systems are needed.
The American newspaper The Wall Street Journal, citing the commander of the artillery of the 92nd motorized rifle division of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel Rodion Kulagin, wrote that Iranian drones are actively used to destroy military equipment. Shahed-136 or Geran-2 hunt armored vehicles and artillery. Only in the area where his brigade was deployed, the enemy destroyed several self-propelled howitzers and two armored personnel carriers with their help.
“In other areas, the Russians have superior artillery firepower. But here they no longer have this advantage in artillery, and that is why they began to resort to these drones,” Kulagin noted, adding that the Shahed fly at a low altitude, due to which the existing air defense systems are not can detect them.
It is not difficult to trace that Russia purchased Iranian drones against the background of heavy losses due to the strikes of Ukrainian HIMARS missile systems, which destroy its infrastructure, logistics and accumulation of manpower and equipment from a distance of several tens of kilometers.
The media call Shahed-136 “HIMARS killers”. And they claim that the Russian army got the opportunity to hunt self-propelled guns, such as Caesar, Dana M777 and other weapons of the West. As for the HIMARS systems, there are currently no confirmations of successful strikes. Moreover, the Ukrainian side denies all Russian reports about the destruction of such missile systems.
In a comment to the WSJ, the founder and executive director of the consulting company Red Six Solutions, Scott Crino, said that the Shahed-136 could be a powerful help for Russia in the fight against long-range HIMARS. However, Michael Knights, a military specialist at the Washington Institute for Middle East Policy, is confident that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be able to quickly find a countermeasure.
“Iranian drones look magnificent in Yemen, Syria and the Gaza Strip, but now they have started to be shot down more and more often. Ukraine is a serious air defense and electronic warfare environment that Iran has not yet faced. The use of Shahed-136 drones has only an initial shock effect. which will pass soon,” he added.