Ukraine Deploys Thermobaric Drones to Counter Russian Artillery Advantage

In a bid to offset 's artillery supremacy, 's 28th Mechanized Brigade has reportedly employed thermobaric munitions on kamikaze drones to strike Russian-held positions. The move reportedly comes as Ukraine faces a severe shortage of artillery shells compared to Russian forces.

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Ukrainian Forces Adapt to Shell Shortage

As the war in Ukraine enters its 26th month, Ukrainian forces are grappling with a significant disparity in artillery ammunition. According to officials and analysts, Ukraine is firing only about one-fifth of the ammunition that Russian troops are expending. In response, Ukrainian forces are turning to innovative tactics, such as equipping first-person-view (FPV) drones with thermobaric warheads.

David Hambling, a military and weapons expert, told Newsweek, “Ukraine may use precise drones with massive blast effects to offset their shortage of artillery when assaulting Russian defensive positions.”

Ukraine Deploys Thermobaric Drones to Counter Russian Artillery Advantage
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Thermobaric Weapons: Devastating Impact

Thermobaric weapons, also known as vacuum bombs, create more destructive explosions than conventional weapons through a two-stage detonation process. These munitions are particularly effective against troops in bunkers, trenches, and buildings.

The British Defense Ministry has described the impact of Russia's TOS-1A “Solntsepek” thermobaric weapon as “devastating,” noting that “it can destroy infrastructure, and cause significant damage to internal organs and flash burns, resulting in death to those exposed.”

Ukraine Deploys Thermobaric Drones to Counter Russian Artillery Advantage 2
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Footage of Ukrainian Thermobaric Drone Strike

Recently circulated footage, attributed to Ukraine's 28th Mechanized Brigade, appears to show a Ukrainian-operated explosive drone striking a single-story building through a window, followed by a massive explosion tearing through the structure. The longer version of the clip, posted by the brigade, includes footage from the FPV drone approaching the building, before switching to a feed from another airborne drone.

Russia's Use of Thermobaric Weapons

Russia has employed thermobaric weapons, such as the TOS-1A “Solntsepek,” against Ukrainian forces. The Russian Defense Ministry has described the TOS-1A as a “formidable weapon” for its troops. However, according to Hambling, Russia does not appear to have introduced thermobaric drone warheads yet.

As Ukraine faces a significant disadvantage in artillery ammunition, its forces are adapting by deploying thermobaric munitions on to strike Russian positions. While these weapons are known for their devastating impact, their use by Ukrainian forces highlights the ongoing challenges and innovations in the protracted conflict.


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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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