Russian Il-76s struck by wax foamboard UAVs with 6.6 lbs payload

In the unfolding narrative of the recent assault on the Russian airbase in Pskov, situated near the Estonian border, fresh insights continue to surface. The Ukrainian forces have asserted their use of the Australian-manufactured ‘cardboard’ drones in this particular offensive.

However, the conduit through which these drones were transported to the airbase, which lies at a substantial distance of over 800 kilometers [approximately 500 miles] from Ukrainian land, has sparked considerable debate.

Ukraine has now put forth assertions that the attack was initiated from within Russia’s borders. Notwithstanding, the involvement of no less than ten drones in the assault suggests a plausible theory that the launch point could have been Estonia. The Russian authorities, on the other hand, have yet to publicly disclose their findings regarding the trajectory of the drone’s flight.

Russian Il-76s struck by wax foamboard UAVs with 6.6 lbs payload
Photo credit: Twitter

The wax styrofoam drone

Contrary to initial reports, Ukrainian authorities assert that the unmanned aerial vehicle employed in the Pskov assault was a Sypaq. This assertion, however, raises intriguing questions. The Sypaq, officially designated as the Sypaq Corvo Precision Payload Delivery System, is limited by its relatively modest operational radius of merely 75 miles. This specification implies that, were this indeed the drone model utilized in the Pskov incident, the launch site would have necessarily been within strikingly close proximity to the target.

Located a mere 38.1 miles [61.3 km] from Pskov, the border of Estonia lies comfortably within the operational range of the cardboard drone. The drone, which appears to lack a camera, is presumably guided by sophisticated GPS technology. Intriguingly, the drone itself tips the scales at 5.3 lbs [2.4 kg] when empty, yet it boasts the capacity to bear a payload of up to 6.6 lbs [3 kg], which is more than its own weight. This remarkable feat is achieved through the power derived from its onboard batteries.

It has been reported by the Ukrainians that identical drones were utilized in an assault against the Kursk airport on August 27, a mere two days before the subsequent attack in Pskov. Of particular significance is the geographical proximity of Kursk to the Ukrainian border, a detail that certainly cannot be overlooked in this context.

The intricate specifics of the technological features

Ukraine posted this graphic about the drone’s features:

Russian Il-76s struck by wax foamboard UAVs with 6.6 lbs payload
Photo credit: Ukrainian MoD

It is crucial to understand that the presence of backup navigation systems signifies that the drone is pre-set to engage a designated target. This setting undergoes constant updates as long as there is an availability of GPS information. One should also be aware that jammers, which are typically positioned around high-value targets, play a significant role in this scenario.

The image depicted above does not represent a camera capsule. Instead, it is a representation of a drone, of Australian manufacture. This drone was constructed using readily available commercial components, which are potentially of Chinese origin.

Should the Russian military leadership maintain its stance that the assault originated from Estonia, this precarious situation places Putin in an unenviable position akin to treading on eggshells. The implication is that Estonia, a sovereign nation, is implicated in the attack. The options available to Russia in response to this alleged transgression by Estonia remain shrouded in uncertainty.

Upcoming mobilization

On the Eastern European front, the Russian forces have evidently decelerated their movements within the vicinity of the Kupyansk region, parrying several Ukrainian counter-offensives in the process. Presently, the progression of the Kupyansk Offensive seems to be stagnant, with limited advancements observable only on the outskirts.

Current intelligence suggests that Ukraine is embarking on a significant mobilization effort this month. However, the consequences of this decision may not favor President Zelensky. The recruitment pool, encompassing students, factory workers, and older men, could potentially lead to unforeseen complications.

In an alarming development, Ukraine has already exhausted nearly all of its strategic reserves. The nation is now attempting to recuperate and compensate by resorting to far less capable territorial units. Specifically, these units are drawn from Lviv, a city represented by the 125th Territorial Reserve, and the region adjacent to Moldova, represented by the 106th Brigade. These units have been strategically placed in the Kupyansk region, a potential target for a significant offensive by Russia.

The Ukrainian military finds itself in a precarious position, having depleted its reserves and suffered substantial casualties on the battlefield. Despite a scheduled mobilization in September, the prospect of sustaining offensive operations appears increasingly bleak, particularly if the current rate of attrition persists.

Kyiv confirms

An authoritative figure within the Ukrainian government has formally verified to the BBC that the drone assault launched on a Russian airbase in Pskov on Wednesday was indeed orchestrated by Ukraine. The said attack purportedly resulted in substantial damage and potential destruction of several Ilyushin transport aircraft.

Surprising 'downfall' of a Tu-22 Blinder in the face of UAV attack
Photo credit: Twitter

An authoritative representative from the Ministry of Defence corroborated the local narratives, affirming unequivocally that the Ukrainian military intelligence [GUR] was indeed the orchestrator of the attack. Concurrently, President Volodymyr Zelensky made a public announcement, indicating that a weapon, crafted within the borders of Ukraine, successfully struck a target located at a significant distance of 700km.

According to Ukrainian sources, it is posited that a total of six Il-76 planes have been impacted by recent events, with four purportedly destroyed and an additional two suffering damage. Russian authorities, on the other hand, maintain that the number of affected aircraft stands at four. These aircraft, categorized as long-range cargo planes, possess the capability to transport troops and military equipment across vast distances, rendering them invaluable assets in the theatre of war for Russia. The Russian Federation has responded to these incidents with a stern warning, pledging that Ukraine will “not go unpunished” for these alleged attacks.


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