​Ukrainian Air Defense Takes Down Four More Iranian Shahed-136 Drones: With Only Two Missiles

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Iranian Shahed-136 loitering munitions / Photo credit: Militarnyi with reference to Iranian media
Iranian Shahed-136 loitering munitions / Photo credit: Militarnyi with reference to Iranian media

Iranian loitering munitions turned out to be not as effective as russians were probably expecting

On the evening of September 22, Air Command "South" reported four Shahed-136 "kamikaze drones" of Iranian manufacture (referred to as "Geran-2" in russia). Notably, only "two medium-range anti-aircraft missiles" were used to take them down.

This detail is twofold noteworthy. First, the sole fact that it took only two missiles to take them all down shows both the real value of experience gained over almost seven months of the all-out war in the field of anti-drone warfare, and russian incompetence in operating Iranian systems which resulted in all these "Shahed" munitions failing to reach the target. The Air Command doesn't detail how many drones were involved in the attack in total.

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As a reminder, the most effective way to take down drones is to detonate the missile mid-air, as it approaches the target. For example, the British Martlet system works this way. Blast fragmentation causes enough damage for a relatively small aerial vehicle to break and fall.

Martlet is one of the most effective missiles against russian drones / Illustrative photo credit: Air Assault Forces Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Secondly, the mentioning of some "medium-range" missile might be just a casual referring to one of those Western-supplied short-range missiles: the very same Martlet, for instance, has a firing range of 6 to 8 km which is comparably wider than the Soviet "Igla" (5 to 6 km) or "Strela-10" (5 km) but still not so much to call it "medium-range".

Or perhaps Ukraine does have actual medium-range missiles. As far as we know, the American NASAMS are expected to arrive only in mid to late November. However, if we recall the story around the supply of German IRIS-T missile systems, there was some ambiguity regarding the terms of delivery. Yet, German Minister of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock was expecting the first system to come to Ukraine in September.

Anyway, there was no official data on the arrival of IRIS-T or NASAMS yet, and no evidence either, so all these speculations remain utterly theoretical.

The German IRIS-T SLM system which is being produced for Ukraine / Open source illustrative photo
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