A video appears to show a Russian Lancet drone striking a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter at an air base.
It was launched from around 50 miles away, but Lancet drones previously only reached up to 25 miles.
The drones, which are small and cheap, are being increasingly used by Russia in the war.
A Russian drone struck a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter that was around 50 miles away from the nearest Russian position, suggesting its small attack drones can now reach far further than before.
A video shared online appears to show the moment a Lancet drone drops explosives on the fighter jet as it was sitting on the tarmac at Dolgintsevo air base near Kryvyi Rih, Forbes reported.
The Lancet is produced by a subsidiary of Russia’s Kalashnikov arms manufacturer and was introduced in 2019.
Previous versions of the drone had a range of around 25 miles, weighed around 35 lbs, and could cruise at about 70 mph, Forbes reported.
However, a spokesperson for the drone manufactor Zala Aero said that the MiG-29 was hit at “more than 80 kilometers,” or around 50 miles, from the drone’s launch point, Russian outlet RIA Novosti reported, citing a source with knowledge of the matter.
The source added that the drone “has become a truly front-line long arm.”
Insider could not independently verify the video.
The development poses a new challenge for the Ukrainian air force, whose main air bases were previously out of reach for Russia’s small attack drones.
Russia has ramped up its use of Lancet drones in Ukraine in recent months, using the cheap drones to try and strike high-value targets, Reuters reported.
The small “kamikaze” drones cost around 3 million rubles, which is around $31,000, Samuel Bendett, an analyst and expert in unmanned and robotic military systems at the Center for Naval Analyses, said, citing publicly available Russian sources, per Reuters.
The drones are difficult to intercept due to their slow speed and low flying altitude, as many air defense systems are designed to work against fast-moving targets.
They have been most effective against light armored vehicles, artillery systems, and older tanks.
“If this strike happened as it did, it probably confirms that this particular drone may have been operated by Russia’s Special Forces, who are Lancet’s regular users,” Bendett told Insider.
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