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Iranian Drones Are A Menace Over Ukraine

December 3, 2022
Wreckage of a Geran-2 in Kyiv. Via social media.

What could be the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Ukraine as its electricity supply dwindles after relentless airstrikes orchestrated by Russia. Since October 10 waves of cruise missiles and loitering munitions wrecked critical infrastructure and other civilian targets as battlefield reversals forced Russia’s army to retreat across the Dnipro River and consolidate its frontline. But the slow retribution Moscow exacted has taken its toll, with most Ukrainian citizens now rationing their power usage as NATO scrambles to have generators and other humanitarian aid delivered as quickly as possible.

Part of this campaign to further devastate the country are the “Shahed” or Geran-1 and Geran-2 loitering munitions, or “kamikaze drones” as described by media, that are straining Ukraine’s air defenses. These weapons are of Iranian origin and assembled with dual use parts then delivered to Russia as the Geran-1/2. The previous record that logged Geran-1/2 shootdowns from September 13 until October 23 was inconclusive as to whether they were being eliminated in sufficient numbers. The same result applies for the period from October 24 until November 30 tabulated below. In fact, the only notable change is the volume of Geran-1/2 shootdowns; they have diminished and none are reported since November 18.

The record from October 24 until November 30 does show better congruence when the figures for AFU-Stratcom (together with the rest of the military) and the figures as reported by Ukrainian media are charted. While the reporting is never consistent on a day-to-day basis the totals match up–61 shootdowns for AFU-Stratcom and 60 shootdowns for Ukrainian media–and complement a Stratcom Center UA* infographic released on December 2 that shows 80 Geran-1/2 (a.k.a. Shahed-131/136) in total were launched throughout November but 80% or 64 were shot down.

Vis Stratcom Center UA.

The problem is, when examining the record of Geran-1/2 shootdowns since November based on AFU-Stratcom and Ukrainian media, the total for the former is 42 shootdowns in November alone and not 64 as claimed by Stratcom Center UA. It’s only when the shootdowns from the large attack on October 25 and 26 are added that the total almost matches the infographic published by Stratcom Center UA. On the other hand, the total of Geran-1/2 shootdowns as reported by Ukrainian media for November complements the data from Stratcom Center UA.

The Ukrainian government’s efforts to highlight their success against the Geran-1/2 is very inconsistent. On November 5 Pres. Zelensky himself claimed that the armed forces are shooting down 10 kamikaze drones each day. However, if this were the case then 300 Geran-1/2 losses would have been reported by AFU-Stratcom for the month of November. By the end of the month a spokesman for the air force claimed Russia’s supply of Geran-1/2’s are depleted, as this was just a “first batch,” and this explains why attacks stopped in the last two weeks. It’s an assertion echoed by Western analysts, including think tanks, but is hard to verify.

Via Ukrinform.

Back in October 19 it was claimed either 222 or 223 Geran-1/2’s were shot down but the AFU-Stratcom’s own records only counted 149 shot down from September 13 until October 23. At this point the total Geran-1/2 shootdowns recorded by AFU-Stratcom from September 13 until November 30 is 210–a fraction of the estimated 2,400 Gerans the Russians possess. A different estimate lowers this stockpile to 1,740 and then it was lowered again to “more than 400” that have been launched against Ukraine.

Whatever the true figures Ukraine’s military brings down a lot of them but is having limited success against these kamikaze drones.

* Stratcom Center UA is a program under the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

October 24
Oct 25
Oct 2619
Oct 27
Oct 28
Oct 29
Oct 30
Oct 31
November 1612
Nov 268Kyiv, Cherkassy
Nov 39Nikopol
Nov 496
11 (Pres. Zelensky)
Nov 5
Nov 6
Nov 7
Nov 8
Nov 965
Nov 10
Nov 11
Nov 12
Nov 13
Nov 14
Nov 151010Kyiv, Odessa
Nov 16
Nov 175
Nov 18
Nov 19
Nov 20
Nov 21
Nov 22
Nov 23
Nov 24
Nov 25
Nov 26
Nov 27
Nov 28
Nov 29
Nov 30

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