Ukrainian arms conglomerate Ukroboronprom wrapped up tests on an attack drone under development recently.
The yet-to-be-named loitering munition will undergo another round of tests involving an electronic-warfare jamming environment before being used in combat.
It is expected to be ready by the end of the year.
“As of today, a number of stages of successful tests have been completed. In accordance with the instructions of the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, we are moving to the stage of tests involving an e-warfare jamming environment,” Ukrinform quoted company spokeswoman Natalia Sad as saying.
Capable of Striking Deep Inside Russia
The drone features a takeoff weight of 200 kilograms (441 pounds), including a 75-kilogram (165-pound) warhead. It has a reported range of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles), enabling it to potentially strike Moscow.
Ukroboronprom began developing the drone in August on the order of armed forces commander-in-chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi with a timeline to complete it by the end of the year.
“After we successfully test the drone under the EW influence, we hope to be able to test it in combat use. We promised to do so by the end of this year, and we are trying to live up to that promise,” the spokeswoman added.
In Russia tonight there was a new attack by an unknown drone on the Khalino military airfield in Kursk. As a result of the attack, an oil reservoir near the airport caught fire. pic.twitter.com/d14c1PJW1N
— Special Kherson Cat 🐈🇺🇦 (@bayraktar_1love) December 6, 2022
Ukraine Retaliates with Drones
The announcement comes on the heels of Russian air bases being struck by combat drones, believed to have been launched by Ukraine.
Soviet-era Tu-141 “Swift” reconnaissance drones were reportedly used in the attacks, which claimed three lives and damaged at least two aircraft.
The jet-powered 1980s platform could have reportedly been reconfigured into a suicide drone or missile for the attacks.
Two TU-95 planes supposedly damaged after a reported drone attack on an air base in Russian Engels, Saratov region.
Engels airbase is one of the take-off sites for Russian planes that launch rockets on Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/ArQ9rZVRmw
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) December 5, 2022
New Drone to ‘Bring War to Russia’
Citing drone expert Samuel Bendett, Forbes wrote that Ukraine has only a handful of Swifts left, limiting their further use.
However, he added that the introduction of the new drone could enable the Ukrainians to “bring the war to Russia as much as possible in response to Russia striking Ukraine’s civilian energy infrastructure.”
Ukraine has previously relied on improvised drones — assembled from commercially available online Chinese-made drone kits — to hit a Russian refinery and Crimea.