A secretive Ukrainian special forces infantry unit made video public of rare kamikaze drone strikes against Russian army soldiers hiding in fighting positions and even armored vehicles attempting to make road getaways, news reports on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, said.

 

The images first published on Facebook by Ukraine’s National Guard North command on Tuesday, Dec. 27, showed one-way munitions reportedly piloted by operators from the special operations group Omega blowing up seven Russian BMP armored personnel carriers and almost certainly wounding or killing soldiers aboard.

 

Omega is part of a formation of all-volunteer units created by Ukraine’s interior ministry unit in 2019 to operate behind Russian lines to collect intelligence and carry out raids.  Reportedly, most Omega fighters are former members of Ukrainian and, in rare cases, Soviet commando units. According to unconfirmed but persistent Ukrainian social media accounts, a few Omega operators are NATO-nation nationals with experience in elite U.S. or British special operations teams. The unit avoids publicity.

 

According to the National Guard North, the strike images were recorded over the past week in the eastern Avdiivka sector. Major Ukrainian media led by the UNIAN news agency and Espresso TV reported on Wednesday the video was authentic.

 

In one section of the video, at least three Russian BMP infantry fighting vehicles are demolished by guided munitions observed by a Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) drone. 

 

Another cut shows the nose-cone of what might be to be an American-made Switchblade-300 kamikaze drone flying directly into a Russian bunker, before the screen goes dark. In another clip, an anti-tank warhead normally used with the venerable RPG-7 anti-tank rocket system appears to have been fixed onto a drone by Omega operators and flown into the side of a BMP-2 armored personnel carrier.

 

Other, more dramatic footage shows Russian soldiers aboard a moving fighting vehicle spotting and firing on a suicide drone seemingly intent on flying directly through the open rear doors of their retreating BMP, before the video clip blacks out.

 

Initial deliveries of a planned 100 American-made Switchblade suicide drones to Ukraine reportedly took place in April. First use of the man-packable weapon in Ukraine reportedly took place in May. Produced by the Virginia-headquartered AeroVironment, the Switchblade-300 was designed for anti-insurgent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

 

Publicly accessible images of a kamikaze drone hitting a Russian combat vehicle and destroying it in Ukraine are rare, in sharp contrast to images of Russian combat vehicles put out of action by artillery or anti-tank missiles which, after ten months of war, number in the thousands, according to data compiled by the independent Oryx monitoring group.

 

Ukrainian drone operators and special forces members have told Kyiv Post that Ukrainian troops consider the American Switchblade a useful weapon but probably overly expensive and complicated to operate compared to Ukrainian home-made drones, and not always effective against Russian armored vehicles because of its relatively small warhead.

 

On Nov. 24, 2022, the Ukrainian military support group Divanno-Shturmovaya Brigada announced a public donation campaign to acquire materials for the local manufacture of 40 drones for Omega field operators. The drones would be modified to carry anti-tank munitions capable of destroying a Russian tank and costing, the public appeal said, around $350. The international market weapons pricing site Black Market Guns advertised on Dec. 28 the takeaway cost of a single Switchblade-300 at $2,700.

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Comments (0)

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Write the first comment for this!