Ukraine shoots down China-made weaponised ‘bomber’ drone: Report

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  • Ukrainian forces have shot down a Chinese-made “bomber” drone in the eastern warzone after spies based in Russia alerted the local security services.
  • Russia’s military were discussing the mass production of kamikaze drones with Chinese drone manufacturers, according to reports.
  • Reports said it is a Chinese-made commercial drone that was retrofitted and weaponised. The drone carried a bomb of about 20 kilograms.
  • These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are also known as “Alibaba drones” because they can be purchased on the Chinese online platforms Alibaba and Taobao.
  • Mugin Limited, the makers of the drone, confirmed that it was their airframe, calling the incident “deeply unfortunate.”
  • The weaponized commercial drone did not have a camera fitted, meaning it was not used for surveillance.

Ukrainian forces have shot down a Chinese-made “bomber” drone in the eastern warzone after spies based in Russia alerted the local security services. Fighters from the 111th Brigade of the Territorial Defence Forces of Ukraine, using Ak-47 assault rifles, shot down a low-flying Mugin-5 drone carrying a 20 kilogram bomb near Sloviansk, in the eastern Donetsk region.

Russia’s military were discussing the mass production of kamikaze drones with Chinese drone manufacturers, according to reports.

 Reports said it is a Chinese-made commercial drone that was retrofitted and weaponised. The drone carried a bomb of about 20 kilograms, which the Ukrainian soldiers later detonated, reports said.

These unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) are also known as “Alibaba drones” because they can be purchased for up to US$15,000 on the Chinese online platforms Alibaba and Taobao. Mugin Limited, the company which makes the drone, confirmed that it was their airframe, calling the incident “deeply unfortunate.” Mugin Limited confirmed that the craft was discovered near the city of Sloviansk, eastern Ukraine, and was one of its own.

Late Saturday night, the fighters from the 111th Brigade of the Territorial Defence Forces of Ukraine heard a drone overhead and saw a flashing light at around 2 am. a territorial defence fighter, told the press, “UAV was flying at very low altitude – close enough to bring it down with hand-held weapons.”

The incident is the latest example of a civilian drone being retrofitted and weaponised since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a sign of the rapidly shifting patterns of warfare. Russia’s Ministry of Defence is yet to comment on the incident.

The weaponized commercial drone did not have a camera fitted, meaning it was not used for surveillance. Experts suggested it could have been used as a “dumb bomb”, according to specialist in drone warfare, Chris Lincoln-Jones. “This particular drone that we’ve been looking at would be much more effective if it had a decent camera in it,” Chris Lincoln-Jones, a retired British Army officer, said. “This seems to be a very crude, unsophisticated, not very technologically advanced way of conducting operations,” he added.

Both Russia and Ukraine have been using drones in the war ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military invasion in Ukraine. Drones are used for surveillance purposes and to locate enemy targets and guide artillery targets towards them. “Both Russia and Ukraine have used commercially available Chinese platforms such as this during the course of the conflict, including in armed roles,” NR Jenzen-Jones, an arms and munitions intelligence specialist, told the reporter.

In January, officials in the Russian-held Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine claimed in a Telegram post that they had shot down a Mugin-5 launched by Ukrainian forces.

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