Moscow-Attacking Drone Revealed in Detailed Photos for The First Time

Serhii Prytula next to the explosive one-way drone / Photo credit: Serhii Prytula
Serhii Prytula next to the explosive one-way drone / Photo credit: Serhii Prytula

The long-range suicide drone was shown by Ukrainian volunteers who raised money for these "birds"

Volunteers Serhii Prytula and Serhii Sternenko have shown the explosive suicide drone that is most certainly used for the long-range attacks on the capital of russia, Moscow.

The photos published by these two activists display the main parts of this aerial vehicle which yet has no official name. The sarcastic caption to the post prompts the Moscow citizens to hide in bomb shelters as drones are flying into the strategically important facilities in the city.

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There are indications that exactly this type of drone is used for the attacks. For example, the duck-looking shape for necessary aerodynamic properties, landing gear (although in this case it's needed only for a takeoff), and an internal combustion engine. A similar drone ahs earlier been caught on cameras by residents of Moscow.

Also, another Ukrainian blogger, Ihor Lachenkov, had made a photo with this drone a while prior. In his post from May 11th he stated, "The enemy has already suffered big losses thanks to these UAVs, there will be many more onward." One of the photos shows him next to Ukrainian Defense Intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov:

There were as well official photos from Ukrainian authorities. On July 25th, it appeared among the exhibits at the forum dedicated to the one-year anniversary of the Army of Drones project. At this event, Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal announced that UAH 40 bln (over a billion dollars) have been granted to domestic drone manufacturers for the production of their unmanned systems.

The same attack drone at the Army of Drones exhibition on July 26th
The same attack drone at the Army of Drones exhibition on July 26th, 2023 / Photo credit: Denys Shmyhal

In addition to the photos, the two volunteers published a video where they played a word game, recalling the names of russian cities, including Kingisepp, Perm, Moscow, and Arkhangelsk, on a final note adding that the drone would not reach Arkhangelsk, yet.

This gives a hint about the attack range of the new weapon. Counting from Ukraine's border, Moscow is around 450 km away, the small town of Kingisepp is 820 km away, and both Arkhangelsk and Perm are approximately 1,400 km away. Anyway, so far Moscow has been the furthest point any Ukrainian drone has reached.

The drone's pragmatic design deserves a few words. For example, it takes off a runway, which means no need for a catapult or rocket booster. On the other hand, it requires an airfield. Although in iran, for example, similar drones are launched from a truck roof accelerated to the speed required for the UAV to take off.

The hull has an exceptionally streamlined shape, moreover, is made of carbon fiber and overall small-sized – all these factors reduce the radar cross-section making the UAV less likely to be noticed by radars.

As for communication systems, obviously, it's a loitering munition type of aerial vehicle whose purpose is to perform a single-in-a-lifetime flight. It calls for not only satellite navigation but also, most probably, an inertial system as well, since we can see an air pressure pickup port. The pressure sensor calculates the speed and altitude of the vehicle at a given time during the flight.

The inertial system is reduces the effectiveness of russian electronic interference by EW systems because the drone will keep moving along the programmed path even if it loses satellite connection, although the lack of adjustment will significantly undermine the accuracy of the strike.

Side note, the revealed photos provide a basis to confirm whether this drone is the advertised attack UAV with a range of 1,000 km developed by Ukrainian state arms maker Ukroboronprom. The photo of the drone's nose suggests that those are two different products.

The mentioned state-led project has a notch for the catapult hook, screw joints, and a different hull shape.

Most importantly, the demonstrated explosive drone already can fly and is mass-produced. Next, the goal is to expand the serial production of this new long-range weapon to sufficient rates.

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