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Russia strikes Ukrainian main cities using Shahed-136 drones launched from ground stations

A video was released on the "Iran Defense" Twitter account on May 3, 2023, showing the use of Shahed-136 loitering munitions by Russian forces in Ukraine, launched from a ground-based launcher station instead of truck-based quintuple launchers. And just like most Iranian kamikaze drones, they use JATO (Jet Assisted Take-Off) to launch.
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Russian forces use Shahed-136 loitering munitions launched from a ground station to target main cities in Ukraine. (Picture source Video Footage Twitter Iran Defense)

On the night of May 4, 2023, enemy forces launched another attack using "Shahed" drones from the north (Bryansk region) and from the south, targeting the eastern coast of the Sea of Azov. The occupiers deployed up to 24 "Shahed-136/131" strike drones.

This time, with the combined efforts and resources of the Air Force, along with the air defense of other components of Ukraine's Defense Forces, 18 strike UAVs were destroyed. The combat operations took place in the northern, central, and southern regions of Ukraine. Surface-to-air missile systems, aviation, and mobile fire groups were utilized in the areas of responsibility of the Southern Air Command and Central Air Command.

Russia has extensively deployed its Lancet drones alongside the Shahed-136 acquired by Iran to carry out ground-based kamikaze strikes on high-value targets inside Ukraine such as military facilities and main cities of the country..

The Shahed-136 is an Iranian-made, long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone, believed to be primarily used for reconnaissance and surveillance missions. Although detailed information about the Shahed-136 is limited, it is reportedly capable of carrying out operations over a significant range, potentially up to 2,000 kilometers, allowing it to cover a large area for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) purposes.

Several reports indicate that the Shahed-136 has been used as a loitering munition in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. While the Shahed-136 is primarily designed for reconnaissance and surveillance missions, its deployment in this capacity highlights its potential versatility in combat operations. As a loitering munition, the Shahed-136 carries a high explosive fragmentation warhead estimated to weigh 30–50 kilograms of unknown composition as well as optics for precision attacks.

If the Shahed-136 is employed as a loitering munition, it can be directed to search for and engage high-value targets autonomously or semi-autonomously, depending on its guidance system. Once a target is identified and confirmed, the drone can deliver a precision strike using onboard weaponry, minimizing collateral damage and reducing risk to friendly forces.

The Shahed-136 is now used by the Russian armed forces to strike the main cities of Ukraine, creating a sense of unpredictability and fear in the population.

Russia strikes Ukrainian main cities using Shahed 136 drones launched from ground stations 925 002
Iranian-made Shahed-136 loitering munitions are launched from ground stations to target main cities in Ukraine. (Picture source Twitter Iran Defense)

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