According to a report by Business Insider, a video that purportedly shows a Ukrainian drone crashing into an oil refinery many miles away from the Ukrainian border has surfaced on social media.
It is not clear who captured this video, and Reuters has claimed that it has not been able to independently verify the film.
The crisis that has been going on between Ukraine and Russia for the past four months has now entered its fifth month, and the video seems to suggest that Ukraine has now taken the initiative to go on the offensive. Even though Ukraine has primarily depended on drones in its military operations, this is because it is doing so to counter Russian advances on Ukrainian lands, such as destroying tanks or disrupting supply lines.
Although the precise type is unclear, it appears to be based on the UA PD-1 or PD-2 series of reconnaissance UAVs. The area is around 150km from the front line. pic.twitter.com/EssUu6PxyB
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) June 22, 2022
According to Business Insider, two unmanned aerial vehicles were discovered at the Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery in Rostov, which is located in Western Russia and is only around eight kilometers (five miles) from the border with Ukraine.
Who exactly is flying that drone, anyway?
As can be heard in the video that is above, the drone produces a significant amount of noise, which is possibly the reason why somebody decided to film it in the first place. Although it is impossible to determine for certain what kind of drone it is, it seems to have a dual tail, much like the Turkish Bayraktar drone.
However, according to a report published by Forbes, the profile of the drone is noticeably thinner than that of a Bayraktar and is analogous to the sort of drone used by the Ukrainians, the PD-1. After the Russian takeover of Crimea in 2014, UKRSpecSystems initiated a crowdfunding campaign in order to finance the production of the PD-1, which is an interesting fact.
The People’s Drone 1, which was constructed by a community of people interested in flying unmanned aircraft, has a wing span of ten feet (three meters) and an endurance that is greater than five hours. The website states that the PD-1 was developed specifically for surveillance applications and has the capacity to carry payloads of up to 42 pounds (19 kg).
Additionally, the drones in the PD series are self-piloting and able to navigate independently in the event that they lose connection with the operator. Because of this, they are ideally suited for utilization in a kamikaze assault of this kind. According to the official media of the Russian Federation, a fire was started when a drone crashed into a unit of a crude distillation center at 8:40 in the morning local time. Another drone crashed into oil reservoirs at 9:23 in the morning local time. There is no indication as to which of these blows was captured on camera.
Reports further say that the drone may be a commercial drone with Chinese origins, which is relatively more affordable to acquire and deploy in a suicide mission. This would make it more likely that the drone was used in the attack.
Where do we stand with Russian anti-aircraft systems?
In either case, the Russian media has reported that drone strikes have taken place within the country’s boundaries, which raises additional concerns over the effectiveness of Russia’s air defenses. The drone did generate a considerable amount of noise, as can be seen in the video that is located above, and despite its stealth qualities, it ought to have been detectable on the radar for a considerable amount of time. Long enough for surface-to-air missiles to bring it down, or at the least, for some fighter jets to be called into action.
To the credit of the drone, if indeed it was a PD-1, it has an inertial navigation system (INS) that makes it impervious to GPS jamming. This is assuming that the Russians even attempted to disrupt its GPS signal. The inability to shoot down a slow-flying drone before it hits a vital asset like a petroleum reservoir raises major issues about holes in the nation’s air defenses or the origin of the attack itself. For the defense equipment that supplies the nation, this raises severe questions.
We are going to have to hold off judgment until we find out what took place. According to a report from Business Insider, the fire has been put out and there are no reports of anyone being hurt as a result of the blaze.