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Russia claims to have inflicted first TB2 UAV loss on Ukraine

17th March 2022 - 12:59 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Wreckage of a TB2 shows the nose of the aircraft sustained damage. (Photo: Russian MoD)

Images have surfaced purportedly showing a first Ukrainian TB2 UAV loss.

The Russian MoD has released a number of images on social media claimed to be of a downed Bayraktar TB2 MALE UAV over Kyiv, thought to be the first such loss of the aircraft belonging to Ukraine.

Wreckage from the incident clearly shows unique markings on the nose of the TB2, consistent with those in production.

There has been no indication of how the TB2 was attacked, but the loss is significant as it breaks from the overall trend of the aircraft being successfully used by Ukraine to engage and destroy a wide variety of Russian equipment including tanks, SAM systems and logistics trains.

Before the Russian invasion, defence analysts had suggested the TB2 would be less effective in contested airspace and fall victim to layered air defences employed by Moscow, but reality has proven much different with little evidence that Russian ground warfare superiority is having a decisive impact on developments.

As Shephard previously reported, Ukraine publicly confirmed that it had received additional ‘combat-ready’ TB2s on 2 March, on top of 20 already said to be in service.

In a new round of weapons supplies to Ukraine, the US government approved of an $800 million package on 16 March that will include supply of 100 ‘tactical’ UAVs, since confirmed as AeroVironment Switchblade loitering munitions, according to Politico, citing an unnamed US government 'administration official'. 

AeroVironment launched an extended-range version of the Switchblade system – Switchblade 600 – in October 2020, designed to target BLoS targets such as light tactical vehicles.

The system weighs 23kg, is capable of a 115mph dash speed, can be deployed in less than 10 minutes from a launch tube and features an in-flight wave-off strike capability.

When supported with ‘tap-to-target’ guidance from a tablet managed fire control system, Switchblade 600 can be either piloted manually or autonomously, according to AeroVironment.

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