Drone not matching any reported type struck the Russian refinery

KYIV ($1=29.52 Ukrainian Hryvnias) — BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that on June 22 at 8:00 a.m., the Russian Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery in Rostov was hit by a Ukrainian kamikaze drone, according to open-source intelligence [OSINT]. There is footage that managed to capture the Ukrainian drone flying by seconds before it attacked the refinery.

There is currently no information on what type of drone was used. Well-known defense analyst and submarine warfare expert HI Sutton deviates from his usual analysis [mostly about submarines] and claims that the drone captured in the video does not match any reported drone in service with the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Drone not matching any reported type struck the Russian refinery
Photo credit: Twitter

Sutton makes a brief analysis of what he saw in the video and concludes that this drone could not be either the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 [which has distinctive blended wing roots] or the Ukrainian PD-1 [which has noticeable winglets at the end of each wing]. Both drones, Sutton writes, have an inverted V tail.

Here’s what else Sutton says in his commentary: “The video of the attack is naturally blurry. However, the new drone has a more basic tail configuration. There is a horizontal tail between the booms and two vertical tails, one on each boom. Probably they are slightly swept back and/or tilted outwards”.

Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles with increased control range
Photo credit: Defence Blog

What are the other options?

Despite the large-scale production of small and medium-sized attack drones or kamikaze drones around the world, the options of exactly which drone is used come down to two.

A drone with a similar design and wing and tail configuration was demonstrated at AeroRozvidka Lviv in 2015, Sutton wrote. This drone is designed for manual launch. In reality, the design of the demonstrations in the Lviv drone is small, including the dimensions. Sutton says it’s hard to tell from the shared video whether the dimensions of the drone unveiled seven years ago match the drone captured in the video.

Another option, according to Sutton, is the Skyeye 5000. BulgarianMilitary.com has more information about this drone. The first thing to note is that the Skyeye 5000 is available for free sale on the Chinese online portal AliExpress for the sum of about 30,000 euros for a single unit, and about 15,000 euros if a certain quantity is ordered.

Drone not matching any reported type struck the Russian refinery
Photo credit: AliExpress

Mugin 5000mm VTOL is designed based on the Mugin 4450 VTOL with a larger center wing and an extended wingspan of 5000mm, in the hope of reaching a longer flight time to 8 hours.

The Mugin 5000 is an exceptionally large aircraft designed for professional use and can be equipped with a full system of advanced control electronics to run in sync with the most advanced ground stations. With full fuel of 27 liters, the flight time can be over 7 hours.

When empty, the drone weighs 26.5 kg, and the maximum allowable weight at take-off is no more than 100 kg. It can develop a maximum speed of up to 120 km/h.

Although both of the alleged drones we’ve cited are close to the design of the drone filmed that attacked the Russian refinery, we can’t definitively say whether it’s one of the two or a third model. The fact is that the Ukrainians have shown the integration of Western weapons technology on non-standard vehicles, which is proof that this drone may be another hand-made design that has clearly achieved its goal.


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