Overnight October 5, Ukrainian air defense took down six UAVs of the Iranian origin. Three of them were destroyed by missile units, and the other three by pilots from the 204th Tactical Aviation Brigade of the Ukrainian Air Force.
Their success was celebrated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in his daily address to the nation. And this is the first time we hear of Ukraine’s fighter jets being used against unmanned aircraft since the start of the russian invasion. English subtitles available:
Open data suggests that before February 2022, the 204th Tactical Aviation Brigade had MiG-29 and MiG-29UB in service. Apparently, they still use these MiG-29 to fight off russians.
On the part of Defense Express, the pilots were probably using the same tactics they applied to destroy Kalibr cruise missiles mid-air. As we explained earlier, to detect enemy cruise missiles, pilots of the Air Force need to turn on electro-optical targeting system which can see the thermal trace of the missile. The thing is, the radio locator is not sometimes capable to detect a target at low altitudes.
Yet, the skill of Ukrainian fighter pilots is not enough to provide absolute defense against russian-Iranian drones. Ukraine needs the transition to modern air defense systems which is only possible with the help of western allies.
Spokesperson of the Air Force Yurii Ihnat stressed that Ukraine’s air defense must be echeloned to effectively deter the drone threat, ArmyInform reports. And in order to create such an echeloned system, the supply of such modern systems as NASAMS and IRIS-T is crucial.