ZALA Lancet loitering munition downs US M1 Abrams in Ukraine

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Information from the battlefields, brought by RIA Novosti; a Russian news agency, insists that the Central Group of Russia’s Armed Forces has deactivated another M1A1SA Abrams from Ukraine’s Armed Forces [VSU] in the vicinity of Avdiivka. It’s noteworthy to mention that, this time, the Abrams was disabled by the Lancet, an unmanned aerial vehicle. 

An anonymous source relayed, “A Russian drone referred to as the Lancet, successfully targeted an Abrams in the Avdeevsky sector within the Northern Military District. Members from the Central Group executed this operation.” Nonetheless, at present, the status of the tank remains uncertain – was it completely destroyed, or was it able to leave the line of fire? Quick verification of these specifics is unattainable, according to the source. 

The anonymous informant highlighted to the agency, the unequivocal presence of recording equipment that captured the moment Russian artillery struck an American transport. Recently, on March 28th, the Russian Ministry of Defense revealed reports of Ukraine’s armed forces losing another Abrams near Avdeyevka. Simultaneously, the positioning of Central troops on the frontline has undergone significant improvements, successfully repelling seven counterattacks.

Photo credit: Telegram

All equipment is vulnerable

The Russian Ministry of Defense publicized on March 20 that the Russian forces had successfully taken down the fourth American Abrams tank, specifically in the direction of Avdeyevka. The military authorities highlighted that an FPV drone considerably incapacitated the tank stationed in the village of Berdichi, within the Donetsk People’s Republic [DPR]. 

Previously, on February 26, the first destructive strike against an Abrams tank was reported. Jan Gagin, an adviser to the DPR’s leader, echoes the sentiment that any new equipment sent by the West to the governing party Kyiv is exposed to attacks and susceptible to them.

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In every possible way

As we delve deeper into the situation on the front lines in Ukraine, it becomes clear that there’s a coordinated effort to eliminate enemy equipment. Intriguingly, sources indicate a notable intrigue in the Abrams tank’s performance. This attention contrasts with their interactions with tanks like the Leopard or the Challenger – with the latter undergoing another setback recently. 

We can recall an article from BulgarianMilitary.com that verified an M1 Abrams tank – provided by the US to Ukraine – sustained serious damage from an anti-tank mine. Drone footage shows that this specific Abrams tank may be the most severe casualty thus far. Primary sources from the front lines confirmed this occurrence, stating that the tank did indeed strike an anti-tank mine, resulting in substantial damage. However, despite this unfortunate event, reports suggest that the crew managed to miraculously evacuate the armored vehicle unscathed. 

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Before this event, there were already significant reports about the destruction of at least three other M1 Abrams tanks. Information regarding the destruction of a fourth tank was circulating, but this particular intel is under examination as the accompanying photographs sparked some debates.

Ukraine actively uses M1

Over the past few months, there’s been a growing buzz around the Abrams’ presence. Interestingly, the M1 Abrams first made its appearance on the ground in Ukraine in the previous year, albeit a significant distance from the warzone. However, as of February 5, we began to hear of sightings of a fully-prepared Abrams tank in the vicinity of Avdiivka.  

Photo credit: Twitter

Fast forward to just a few days before the first newsbreak about a demolished Abrams tank near Steppove in Donetsk, reports came in of it advancing across the war-torn rural landscape, engaging targets within Russian territories.  

According to BulgarianMilitary.com, approximately 31 M1 Abrams tanks were dispatched by the United States to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Reports from both the US and Ukraine stipulate that these tanks are all stationed within Ukrainian borders. The rapid downfall of a significant number of Abrams tanks in a relatively short period indicates the aggressive deployment of Abrams tanks by the Ukrainian military in their conflict with Russian forces.

Briefly about ZALA Lancet

Photo credit: Zala Aero

Produced by ZALA Aero, a branch of the Kalashnikov Group, the ZALA Lancet drone is a cutting-edge Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle [UCAV]. This “kamikaze drone” is engineered with a specific purpose in mind–to identify, pursue, and strike enemy objectives with precision. Powered by an electric motor, the drone operates silently, making it less noticeable. It uses a bi-blade propeller and can reach speeds as high as 130 kilometers per hour, striking a perfect balance between speed and stealthiness. 

Examining it from a technical perspective, the drone is equipped with modern optical and communication systems. This includes a high-resolution camera that is operable during both day and night, as well as a robust communication system that allows for real-time data transmission within a range of approximately 40 kilometers. 

The ZALA Lancet can maintain an operational flight path for up to 40 minutes and can be programmed to operate autonomously with a pre-determined flight route or be manually controlled. It utilizes a 3kg, heavy-duty, high-explosive warhead. The drone assures significant damage upon impact, boasting the ability to puncture armored vehicles and structures. 

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High-explosive warheads are the predominant ammunition used by the ZALA Lancet drone. These munitions are designed to explode upon impact, generating a deadly fragmentation radius capable of incapacitating personnel and causing extensive damage to equipment and related infrastructure.

Lancet evolved through war

The Lancet drone, originating from Russia, is arguably one of the most productive and effective of all Russian drones involved in the Ukraine war. While it shares common vulnerabilities with other cage-type tanks, the hunting experiences of the Lancet are shaping its continuous evolution. 

BulgarianMilitary.com presented compelling evidence supporting these assertions on October 10 of last year. The presentation concerned an incident in which a Russian Lancet drone, also known as a kamikaze drone, targeted a Ukrainian Su-25 subsonic jet fighter. This assault took place at the Dolgintsevo airport within the Dnipropetrovsk region. The exact timing of this attack and the capturing of the video remains unclear, but it first appeared to the public on Twitter on this specific day [X]. 

The Lancet carried out this successful attack on the Ukrainian fighter jet, stationed 60km behind the front line. This event emphasizes the operational reach of the Lancet which, according to the official records of its Russian manufacturer, ZALA, extends beyond 60km [with a minimum operational range of 60km and a maximum reach of 110km].

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

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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