On social media platforms, Ukrainian soldiers are sharing news of their recent accomplishment – the seizure of a Russian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or a kamikaze anti-tank missile, controlled by a specific electronic warfare system. The acquisition of the Lancet drone marks a significant advancement for the Ukrainian forces, offering them the chance to inspect its modified configuration, which has undergone substantial upgrades lately.

These improvements include increasing the warhead size from 3 to 5/10 kilograms, extending the operational range from 40 to over 60 kilometers, and enhancing target accuracy. This event will undoubtedly serve as a valuable learning opportunity for Ukrainian technicians, providing them with insights to enhance their own versions of this Russian weapon system. The captured unit, as seen in the accompanying image, seems to have a missing wing, yet the remaining parts are in excellent condition. This development showcases the enhanced capabilities of Ukrainian Electronic Warfare (EW) systems, which have become increasingly prominent on the battlefield. This reinforced deployment enables the effective neutralization of various Russian drones, including different variants of the Iranian Shahed/Geran 2 drones.

About the Lancet-3

Manufactured by Zala, a subsidiary of the Kalashnikov concern, the Lancet-3 is a cutting-edge Russian NLOS-class UAV equipped with kamikaze/anti-tank guided missile capabilities. Its distinctive design features two sets of four fins arranged in a flattened X shape, serving as control fins and support wings. The wings, with slight variations in size between the front and rear, span one meter, while the body measures 1.6 meters in length. Initially designed to carry a 3 kg warhead, its payload capacity is expected to increase to between 5 and 10 kg, resulting in a total aircraft weight exceeding 20 kg. A robust electric motor powers the Lancet-3, enabling a flight duration of approximately 40 minutes. Capable of ascending to altitudes of up to 5 km and maintaining horizontal flight speeds of 110 km/h (rising to 300 km/h during a dive), the Lancet-3’s optoelectronic head features an infrared channel, facilitating target detection during night missions.

More than 800 Lancet drones have been utilized in the conflict. According to data collected from February 2022, when the Ukrainian military conflict began, until December 29, 2023, Russian forces have deployed a striking 872 Lancet kamikaze drones. This notable information was disclosed by Zala Aero, the manufacturer of these lethal weapons.

Zala Aero unveiled a video illustrating the effectiveness of the Lancet drone in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine. The meticulously crafted video, featuring a chessboard scenario followed by exploding chess pieces, portrays the Lancet as a vital asset in the Russian combat arsenal.

Accompanying the video is a thought-provoking commentary stating, “Official records indicate 872 instances of Lancet’s involvement in the conflict as of December 29, 2023.” The commentary further reveals an impressive 80% success rate for these deadly drones, resulting in the destruction of 698 Ukrainian targets, as claimed by Zala Aero.

The company asserts that this period has witnessed notable advancements in the Lancet’s features and functionality, largely due to the integration of artificial intelligence. The video emphasizes that Ukrainian bases equipped with aviation facilities have consistently been prime targets.

A notable feature of the Lancet is its enhanced capability to operate in extremely low visibility conditions. Ukrainian sources, cited on BulgarianMilitary.com, disclosed recent modifications to the drone’s structure in November. The most significant of these changes is the addition of a new optical module, significantly enhancing the drone’s operational abilities, particularly during nighttime missions or under low light conditions.

Russian sources suggest a phased integration of these Lancet enhancements, indicating varying levels of technological advancement among the Lancet drones used across different Russian military units, resulting in unequal access to advanced versions among various units.

A video compilation from Zala Aero showcasing the impressive capabilities of the Russian kamikaze drone demonstrates its ability to neutralize a wide range of equipment over the past two years, including tanks, howitzers, armored infantry vehicles, and Ukrainian landing crafts.

One noteworthy aspect not addressed in the video is the Izdeliye 53, a relatively recent design with limited application in military operations, thus far. The Izdeliye 53 distinguishes itself from previous Lancet models with its spiral wing arrangement, a departure from conventional drone configurations.

Moreover, the Izdeliye 53 introduces a unique capability of releasing a cluster of drones, allowing for the deployment of up to four drones simultaneously. This innovative feature was extensively discussed by BulgarianMilitary.com, which also provided insights into the newly established drone manufacturing facility, intriguingly located in a repurposed shopping mall in Moscow.