- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

‘Upyr’: Advanced Russian Drone Wreaks Havoc on Ukrainian Army Across Frontline

© Photo : X/@nashchel111An X (formerly Twitter) screenshot of Russia's Upyr drone.
An X (formerly Twitter) screenshot of Russia's Upyr drone.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.09.2023
Moscow is intensively using various modifications of drones in the special military operation zone in Ukraine, amid Kiev’s futile efforts to break through the Russian army’s defensive lines.
The Russian military has started launching the first-person view (FPV) drone Upyr (loosely translated into English as “vampire”) in the Donetsk area of the front line.
Where has this unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) already been used and what about its efficiency? Sputnik runs a check to find out.

Upyr Drone Characteristics

First and foremost, it’s worth recalling that any FPV drone is fitted with a camera that wirelessly transmits video feed to goggles, a headset, a mobile device or another display. An operator has a first-person view of the environment where the drone flies and may capture footage or still images.
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The Upyr drone was designed to help the Russian Army stage attacks on the enemy deep in the front line to halt the supply of ammunition and destroy armored vehicles in masked positions.
The UAV can carry RPG-7 mortar grenades, such as the PG-7VL and the RKG-3M, as well as anti-tank hand grenades. Additionally, the drone can be armed with high-explosive fragmentation bombs made directly in a combat zone.
A Russian company making the Upyr drones recently announced that the UAV’s flight range has been doubled thanks to the development of the “Udlinitel” transponder. The company added that the upgraded Upyr drone was equipped with a new video transmitter and a new video receiver, which helps it tackle electronic warfare (EW) systems aimed at jamming drones.

Donetsk Area

A spokesperson for a Russian company manufacturing the Upyr drones has, meanwhile, told reporters that these UAVs added to the destruction of a pickup truck of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) in the Donetsk area of the Russian special operation zone.
“According to the information we receive from [Russian] military units using our equipment, the emergence of the FPV drones forces the enemy [UAF] to withdraw their military hardware to more distant positions,” the spokesperson pointed out.

Graivoron, Kherson Areas

According to the spokesperson, the UAV was likewise supplied to Russian troops stationed in the Graivoron and Kherson areas.
They said that the regular use of the Upyrs there had prodded the UAF to pull out military equipment five kilometers (three miles) from the front line.

Dnepr River Islands

The spokesperson also said that the Upyrs had helped the Russian Army disable a Ukrainian mortar during an operation to evacuate Russian soldiers, including the wounded, on one of Dnepr River islands.

“A Russian reconnaissance group came under enemy fire on one of the islands of Dnepr River, so we were tasked with giving them a helping hand to evacuate. Upyr drone operators managed to track and destroy an UAF mortar that prevented the Russian soldiers from leaving the island. We take pride in this [rescue] operation,” the spokesperson underlined.

They added that when it comes to the use of the Upyr UAVs near Dnepr River islands, these drones proved effective in destroying Ukrainian speedboats.

“Due to the speed that the Upyr gathers in order to overtake an UAF speedboat, detonation can occur on the water, and the power of explosion of even homemade high-explosive shells gives enemy personnel no chance to survive. After the Upyr drones destroyed a number of UAF speedboats in the area, the activity of the Ukrainian Armed Forces military near Dnepr River islands decreased significantly,” the spokesperson stressed.

As if to underscore these remarks, a video was recently shared on social networks to show an Upyr drone obliterating a Ukrainian speedboat.
“Judging by a powerful explosion, they tried to transport ammunition to the islands, but to no avail,” a caption to the video made by one of the Russian military bloggers, read.

Russia Reportedly Wins Drone Warfare

The developments unfold as a US magazine reported that the Ukrainians no longer have a drone advantage over Russian troops, especially when it comes to the use of FPV unmanned aerial vehicles.
The magazine noted that “the Kremlin successfully has institutionalized the acquisition of small drones, including speedy FPV racing drones […] that operators can fit with explosives and fly directly into enemy vehicles and trenches.”
According to the media outlet, the Russian military is “buying FPV drones by the hundreds and training regular troops to fly them via virtual-reality headsets”. Kiev, in contrast, “largely still relies on donations to buy FPV drones—and volunteers to operate them,” the news outlet added.
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The magazine also mentioned the Russian Armed Forces’ new tactics that stipulate close interaction between various types of drones and fighter bombers carrying satellite-guided glide bombs.
The report came amid the UAF’s bungled counteroffensive, which was described by Russian President Vladimir Putin as “a failure rather than a standstill.” He added that the Ukrainians had lost more than 71,000 soldiers, as well as 543 tanks and almost 18,000 armored vehicles of various modifications.
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