Lancet kills five air defense systems (S-300s and Gepard) in 24h

Within the last 24 hours, Ukraine has lost five anti-aircraft systems, the Russian Federation claims. Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense announced that all destroyed enemy systems were in the Kherson region.

The losses were as follows: four S-300 anti-aircraft systems [Soviet production] and one Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft gun [German production]. Most impressively, all five enemy platforms were hit by the ZALA Lancet drone.

Against the background of not a small number of Russian drones that either fail or no longer have the glory of the Lancet, the Lancet is the most successful Russian drone since the beginning of the war. Its use began at a later stage – towards the end of 2022, but it already has dozens of destroyed enemy weapon platforms to its credit. Videos of the Russian drone successfully striking various weapon systems – self-propelled howitzers, towed howitzers, heavily armored vehicles, or anti-aircraft missile systems – are increasingly appearing on the web.

The Lancet’s strikes over the past 24 hours raise some questions. First: which Lancet model are the Russians using. If it is the base version, it means that it is almost impossible to hit the S-300, since these systems are further from the front line. But if it was the basic Lancet that hit the four S-300s, didn’t the Ukrainians deploy their S-300 systems closer to the front line to try to hunt down the Russian fighter jets dropping the terrifying aerial bombs more quickly?

Confirmed: Russia uses swarming Shahed-136 loitering munition
Photo credit: Wikipedia

From another point of view, the Russians may be using the latest, third version of the drone [Lancet-3], which has a much greater range than the first and second versions. And wasn’t Lancet used in a flying pair with Shahed-136?

New tactic

This question makes perfect sense since Ukraine has already raised the alarm that Russia has drastically changed tactics in recent weeks. Mr. Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky, the head of the Ukrainian United Press Center of the Tavric Direction, is already working on this topic. He says Shahed-136 is increasingly being used as a decoy.

What is the tactic? Shahed-136 is used as a decoy against Ukrainian air defense systems. The range of the Iranian drone isn’t really great, but since Russia got them, they’ve increased their range the same way they made dumb bombs look like cruise missiles. I.e. set of wings, GPS, and optics with a small electric motor.

When the Shahed-136 entered the range of the Ukrainian air defense system, the system’s radar began to mark it and signal the missile where the Iranian drone was located. Russia is literally “giving the Queen” [in the chess game] to Ukraine, allowing Shahed to be intercepted and even destroyed. But once the radar system of the Ukrainian air defense system was activated, the Lancet came from another direction at a much higher speed towards the already intercepted air defense system. 300 km/h is the speed that Lancet develops while descending to the marked target.

Although there is no official statement about the use of Shahed-136, nor proof of it, the tactic that has worked in recent weeks may have been used again.

New Lancet

Although the Kremlin has not announced exactly which Lancet model was used, the possibility that a Lancet-3 was involved in this fifth destruction is entirely real. Why? Well, in mid-March, ZALA informed the public that the new version is already ready. It has toasted changes and differs from the previous ones.

For example, the warhead has been enlarged and the drone has received much greater destructive power. A new electro-optical system and new software are also integrated into Lancet-3. Changes in the structural design are also noted. For example, the drone has lost its distinctive cruciform wings. However, ZALA does not provide a photo of the new drone, and there is no explanation of what or how the Lancet-3’s cruciform wings are being replaced or modified.

Failed attack on UKR T-72: Lancet was caught by tree branches
Video screenshot

Lancet-3 already uses three types of warheads – cumulative, high-explosive, and thermobaric. This greatly expands the choice of which target to hit. The three warheads allow the Russian kamikaze drone to target not only light or lightly armored vehicles, tanks, and air defense systems, but also manpower.

Lancet fails, too

However, the Lancet does not always hit the mark. The cases are few, but there are. We reported in late 2022 on a failed attack. A Ukrainian T-72 tank was hidden in the branches of two trees, which formed a wonderful concealing camouflage. In addition, the Ukrainians had stretched a camouflage net very tightly over the tank. Lancet tried to destroy the tank, but coming from a high altitude and despite the high speed, the tree branches and the net managed to rob the drone of its kinetic energy. The drone fell into a trap, only breaking its structure from hitting the branches. But the warhead could not be detonated.

There was a similar case this year in the beginning, when this time the fence net stretched and installed above the Krab self-propelled howitzer caught an almost preserved Lancet drone.

However, Lancet’s successes outweigh its failures. If this drone is used in a flying pair with the Shahed-136, it can really be expected to do quite a lot of damage and almost always be successful. This is of great concern, as Ukrainian air defense systems are at very high risk. It seems that Ukraine either does not have enough electronic warfare guns, or the ones it does have are not that effective.

Fence net caught a Russian drone before it blew up in Krab SPH
Photo credit: Twitter recalls that just two days ago, the same Russian drone managed to destroy a Ukrainian 9A330 TLAR from the Tor air defense system.


Follow us everywhere and at any time. has responsive design and you can open the page from any computer, mobile devices or web browsers. For more up-to-date news, follow our Google News, YouTube, Reddit, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages. Our standards: Manifesto & ethical principles.