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Cheap Drones May Be Shot Down By Very Expensive Anti-Air Missiles

SHAHED-136 (Russia rebrands them as Geran-2) . According to some reports, Russia has purchased 2400 from Russia


The war in Ukraine has many dimensions with both sides seeing things quite differently and no compromise yet in sight. Putting geopolitics aside for the moment, the war has yielded some interesting insights into warfare as practiced in the 21st century. Ukraine's well-trained army, flush with some of the most advanced and expensive weapons the West has to offer, has utterly spoiled Russia's chance for an early victory and a superior negotiating position. Instead, Ukraine has launched what appears to be a successful counterattack that has set Russia back on its heels.

In response, Russia has been launching drone strikes using cheap Iranian built Shahed-136 drones. The drones have been successfully striking at hundreds of infrastructure targets throughout Ukraine, mostly the electrical grid.

According to to Iranian data, the delta-wing Shahed is 11½ feet long, 8 feet, 3 inches wide and weighs approximately 440 pounds. It’s powered by a 50-horsepower engine with a top speed of 114 mph. The Shahed carries an 88-pound explosive charge and can use GPS guidance and or radio for live human guidance.

Though many Shahed-136's have been striking their targets, many have have also been shot down before striking their target. Indeed, a report in the Guardian claims that between September 13 and October 17, some 161 Shahed-136 drones have been shot down. Western analysts put the cost of each drone at some $20,000 to $40,000, for an average estimated cost of around $4.8 million. In contrast, Ukraine has deployed a host of weaponry to bring down the drones, including MiG-29 jets, C-300 cruise missiles, Nasams ground defense systems (each Nasams missiles costs about $1.2M) and small-arms fire. In total, the Guardian report estimates the cost to shoot down the Shaheds at around $28.14 million.

Some reports have Russia having purchased 2400 of Shaheds as an alternative to depleting Russia stock of expensive cruise missiles. They are being used as the "the poor man's cruise missile" and for Russia they have become the remote weapon of choice. And their low cost allows Russia to launch many at each target knowing that a few will get through. And each Shahed-136 shot down by a vastly more expensive S-300 anti-air missile depletes Ukraine's stock of anti-air missiles capable of shooting down Russia's more expensive missiles and planes.

This is clearly a case of quantity having a quality all its own.

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2 comentários

25 de out. de 2022

Lots of cheap drones? Seems like it could be good idea for the U.S. But can the U.S. defense industry make anything cheaply? Sad that even "precision guided weapons" are going to produce civilian casualties.


25 de out. de 2022

And Biden is begging Iran to restore the deal that guarantees Iran will get nuclear weapons with U.S. blessing.

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