Drones fought each other in the air above Bakhmut in Donetsk

When we refer to the war in Ukraine as a drone war, we often mean that these unmanned aerial vehicles are actively involved in almost all domains of warfare. Air, land, and sea – drones are turning from reconnaissance vehicles into precision targeting tools and kamikazes.

Drones fought each other in the air above Artemovsk, Donetsk
Video screenshot

But a recent video reveals that it’s not just from the sidelines that drones are watching what’s happening down low on the ground. It appears that the drones fight each other in the air if they are from two enemy positions. The Russian Ministry of Defense released just such a video – a Russian drone shoots down a Ukrainian drone. Interesting, but expected, against the backdrop of “almost anything” allowed in a war.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has released footage of a drone striking a Ukrainian UAV known as “Baba Yaga”. The ministry said that while returning from an aerial reconnaissance mission, the operator of the Russian drone spotted a Ukrainian “Baba Yaga” hexacopter in the air, which was returning to the location of the Ukrainian armed forces.

Drones fought each other in the air above Artemovsk, Donetsk
Video screenshot

“The operator of the Russian UAV made a decision to shoot down the hexacopter of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. After gaining altitude, his UAV took an appropriate trajectory and hit the enemy drone from above, which fell on our territory,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Baba Yaga

The formidable Baba Yaga, locally known as Vampire, is a large hexacopter drone hailing from Ukraine. Equipped with an infrared camera and capable of carrying a rocket warhead weighing approximately 33 pounds, it is named after a fearsome witch from mythology. These Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [UAVs] boast impressive speed, often reaching up to 23 meters per second. They are recognized for delivering significant explosive payloads to enemy locales. 

Compact but mighty, the Vampire drone can carry a payload of up to 15kg and travel a striking distance of 10km. “The Russians view it as a veritable nightmare,” notes the video commentary. 

What sets the Vampire UAV apart from its competitors is its advantageous thermal imaging. This feature enables operators to identify and target enemies under the cloak of the night. Wrapping both day and night capacities with substantial explosive capabilities into one package amplifies the value of the Vampire significantly. 

Drones fought each other in the air above Artemovsk, Donetsk
Photo by Kostya Liberov

Engineered domestically, Vampire drones have demonstrated their efficiency by releasing diverse types of munitions on Russian adversaries, primarily aiming for tanks. Their previous missions include successful operations such as an attack on a Russian warehouse in Bakhmut during August, demonstrating their ability to effectively dodge prevalent Russian jamming on the battleground. 

Last August, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, who oversees innovation, education, science, and technology, shared a video showcasing a fleet of Vampire drones. He declared that 270 of these UAVs were prepped for deployment at the frontline. Their role? To boost the power of the counteroffensive composed of Ukraine’s soldiers. 

Earlier, in June, Fedorov shared a clip of a Vampire drone on a unique mission – delivering humanitarian aid to inhabitants residing on the Russian-dominated southern bank of the Dnipro River.

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

Ukraine is throwing 300 DJI-made Mavic 3T drones at the Russians
Photo credit: Twitter

On February 21, 2022, Russia stated that its border facility was attacked by Ukrainian forces, resulting in the deaths of five Ukrainian fighters. However, Ukraine quickly dismissed these allegations, labeling them as ‘false flags’

In a notable move on the same day, Russia announced it officially recognized the self-proclaimed areas of DPR and LPR. Interestingly, according to Russian President Putin, this recognition covered all the Ukrainian regions. Following this declaration, Putin sent a battalion of Russia’s military forces, tanks included, into these areas. 

Fast forward to February 24, 2022, global headlines were dominated by a significant incident. Putin commanded a forceful military assault on Ukraine. Led by Russia’s impressive Armed Forces positioned at the Ukrainian border, this assault wasn’t spontaneous but a premeditated action. Despite the circumstances resembling a war, the Russian government refrains from using this term. They’d rather refer to it as a “special military operation”.

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