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What’s Boomerang, the new kamikaze drone in Russian armoury?

This week, Russia added a new weapon to its armoury – a small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) – days after its “special military operation” in Ukraine entered the second year. 

The Russian Defence Minister released a video of what has been described as “small Boomerang copter-class small FPV drones” to be used to destroy Ukrainian positions. 

Since the start of the conflict, Russia has used swarms of Iran-made and indigenously built UAVs to wreak havoc on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.   

So, why is Russia showcasing the new kamikaze drone as a game-changer in the conflict? 

Small wonder

The small drone can be operated by two soldiers: an operator and an assistant. The operator controls the drone using special Virtual Reality (VR) glasses, detecting and destroying the target. On the other hand, the assistant launches the drone and tracks its flight direction on a map, guiding the operator and correcting his work, the Russian government said. 

“Boomerang has a simple design of a sports drone with four propellers, four small motors, a massive battery, and a special magazine filled with high-explosive plastic explosives,” it added.

Boomerang has a high-speed capacity of up to 170 kilometres per hour, and thanks to its huge battery, it can stay in the air for at least three hours. 

Since it’s a small flying object, it has an easy manoeuvring capacity and is extremely easy to control. Moreover, the VR orientation makes it possible to follow a route quickly.  

Another technical speciality of the Boomerang does not have a satellite communication module for which “anti-drone electronic means are useless against him”.

“Unlike conventional aircraft, the Boomerang does not have a satellite communication module. An anti-aircraft weapon is thus almost powerless against him. The operator controls the drone at a minimum height, almost touching the treetops,” the statement added.

Drone wars 

Shahed-136: Kiev has persistently claimed Moscow’s use of Iranian UAVs to attack Ukraine though Iran and Russia deny it. 

The Shahed-136, one of Iran-made UAVs, is technically a long-range loitering munition designed to neutralise ground targets at range. The aircraft is designed to avoid aerial defence and overwhelm ground targets by launching numerous instances from a waiting launcher rack, with the systems being destroyed throughout the attack run.

Broad wings with stabilising rudders at the tips are fitted to the aircraft. The warhead and the optics required for a targeted strike are located in the nose section. A two-bladed propeller is driven by the engine, which is mounted at the back of the fuselage.

Orlan-10: It is smaller and easier to deploy and is equipped with cameras and a small bomb. These drones include chips that support the navigation system. They are typically chips for consumer use, although Russia uses them for military use. Because of this, towards the end of last year, Ukraine requested that foreign companies stop producing these chips.

DJI Mavic 3: This commercial drone can be fitted with small bombs. They have a short flying distance of 30 km, at they can stay in the air for a maximum of 46 minutes. These are mainly used to spot enemies and to direct attacks.

In addition to commercial drones, Ukraine also uses the Turkish-Made Bayraktar TB2 drone.  

Bayraktar TB2: The Türkiye-made tactical armed UAV has been one of the major weapons for Ukraine’s military in its defence against Russian troops.

Ukraine has used the drone to destroy Russian tanks and armoured vehicles. It has also been launched to target sites deep inside Russian terrıtory. 

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