Ukraine war: Russia is using IAI-based UCAV with KAB-20 guided bomb

PANAGYURISHTE, ($1=1.78 Bulgarian Levs) — According to sources in Ukraine, the Russian armed forces use the Israeli-based Forpost-R drone to launch airstrikes. The news was announced by the online portal for defense, security, and intelligence Jane’s. Also, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation published a video of Forpost-R taking off from an unnamed runway.

Ukraine war: Russia is using IAI-based UCAV with KAB-20 guided bomb
Photo credit: Jane’s

Forpost-R is a Russian unmanned aerial vehicle [UCAV] developed by the Yekaterinburg-based Ural Civil Aviation Plant [Ural’skiy Zavod Grazhdanskoy Aviatsii: UZGA] under license from the Israeli company Israel Aerospace Industries [IAI]. Israel is producing this unmanned aerial vehicle under the name Searcher Mk II. However, since 2016, Israel has refused to supply Russia with components and technological solutions for the production of Forpost-R. The reason: pressure from the United States.

After 2016 and Israel’s refusal to remain a major supplier, Moscow was forced to continue developing Forpost-R, but only through local Russian-made components. Thus, in 2019, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation confirmed that the local Forpost-R is ready for commissioning. He is known to use the Russian piston engine APD-85, electro-optics, electronics, data connection system, and run on home software. From the various video footage, it can be concluded that the Russians have also strengthened the fuselage.

Forpost-R is a drone designed for long reconnaissance, surveillance, and search missions. But shortly after Israel withdrew as a supplier, the Russians presented the drone as an opportunity for autonomous correction during artillery fire and later as a combat drone. At two different exhibitions in the same year [2021] UZGA presented Forpost-R with two different weapon systems – anti-tank guided missiles [ATGM] from the 9M133 family of the 9K135 Kornet system and guided bombs from the KAB-20 family. Both the missiles and the bombs were in pairs.

Ukraine war: Russia is using IAI-based UCAV with KAB-20 guided bomb
Photo credit: The Jewish Press

KAB-20 guided aerial bomb

KAB-20 means Korrektiruemaya Aviatsionnaya Bomba or literally ‘corrected aerial bomb’, and the number 20 is the weight of the ammunition in the bomb. It is assumed that the family includes variants of models with different guidance systems, such as laser and satellite positioning, which are considered to be designated as KAB-20L and KAB-20S, respectively, and with different warhead options: demolition, thermobaric, and penetration.

Forpost-R can fly in the air for up to 18 hours, with a maximum range of 400 km. The maximum allowable height that reaches a weight of 500 kg is a little over 6 km. The maximum payload that Forpost-R can carry is 120 kg.

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2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

On 21 February 2022, the Russian government claimed that Ukrainian shelling had destroyed an FSB border facility on the Russia Ukraine border, and claimed that it had killed 5 Ukrainian soldiers who tried to cross into Russian territory. Ukraine denied being involved in both incidents and called them a false flag.

On the same day, the Russian government formally recognized the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR as independent states, according to Putin not only in their de-facto controlled areas, but the Ukrainian Oblasts as a whole, and Putin ordered Russian troops, including tanks, to enter the regions.

On 24 February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine by Russian Armed Forces previously concentrated along the border. The invasion followed by targeted airstrikes of military buildings in the country, as well as tanks entering via the Belarus border.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared martial law throughout Ukraine. Air raid sirens were heard throughout Ukraine for most of the day. Ukraine’s ICT infrastructure has already deteriorated as a result of Russian cyber-attacks and bombardments. Several Ukrainian cities or buildings have been occupied, including the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

However, per a US defence official, Russians forces are “meeting more resistance” in advance towards Kyiv “than they expected”; a statement repeated by James Heappey, Britain’s current Minister for the Armed Forces the next day.

Ukraine 'uses' 30 US fighters, incl F-35 and AWACS in the war
Photo credit: Emilio Morenatti/AP

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