Recent videos that have been circulated on the messaging app Telegram demonstrate that the Ukrainian military has begun equipping FPV drones with improvised rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) in order to target Russian tanks.
These first-person-view (FPV) drones are significantly more difficult to fly remotely than, for example, the DJI Mavic 3 drones that we have seen used during the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The operators of the FPV Drones are required to wear specialized goggles to guide the drone to its target.
FPV drones with makeshift RPG-7 explosives
The videos taken from the FPV drones show the quadcopters targeting moving BMP Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) from a variety of angles. Some of the footage even shows Russian soldiers exiting the vehicle just in time to avoid being hit by the FPV drone.
It is unknown exactly where the strikes have happened, but groups on Telegram say they happened near Soledar or Bakhmut (Artemovsk).
One of the videos displayed the view from the camera of an FPV drone, which showed the aircraft rapidly descending on a moving BMP from behind. The door of the military vehicle that was transporting the soldiers had been opened, and there were some Russian soldiers riding on top of it.
The next thing we see is the soldiers moving erratically and firing at the FPD drone while it is only a few feet away. The video seems to indicate that the hit came from directly behind the turret.
In the other video, an FPV drone can be seen crashing into a BMP from the front, and the end of something that appears to be hastily tied with a band can be seen. This object is likely to have been an explosive.
The cone of the RPG's warhead can be seen in the third video when it strikes the BMP from the side. Even though it is unknown what happened to the armored vehicles after the strike, statements made on Russian Telegram channels agree that these ‘kamikaze' FPV drones on the battlefield are a huge nuisance.
The final video shows three Russian tank targets, two of which are T-64s and one of which is a T-72. The FPV quadcopters are positioned in the air above the targets to line themselves up with the weak spots over and in front of the turret.
The crew of one of the tanks can be seen evacuating the vehicle while it is billowing smoke, but the crew of another tank that is stationed back to back and immediately behind it appears unhurt. Then, the FPV quadcopter flies into the tank, which had already been damaged, causing the military vehicle to explode violently.
There are two other independent tank targets that are hit on top of the turret, which ignites tremendously intense flames. This indicates that the FPV drones must have hit the ammunition magazine.
Both the first and the last videos show completely destroyed and mangled tank vehicles. An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flying above the scene captured footage of one of the hits.
Another picture that has been widely distributed shows seven of these FPV quadcopters with RPG-7 rounds strapped to their airframes.
The fact that the Rocket-Propelled Grenade-7 (RPG-7) rounds are attached to FPV drones is what gives it its one-of-a-kind quality, given that the explosives are designed to destroy fortified ground targets.
According to the description, the PG-7VL round, which can be roughly identified from the photo, is a 2.6-kilogram single-stage High Explosive Anti-Tank round (HEAT).
“Already more than a dozen units of our equipment and a dozen soldiers were struck by this method,” said the administrator of one private group reportedly on Telegram that is affiliated with the Russian ground forces.
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