ZALA Lancet loitering munition.
“…government tests of the KYB loitering munition have been completed, and the results of the tests are considered positive… it was recommended that the Russian army be armed with this new type of strike attack drone…”
As reported in the accompanying December 2021 article from Russia’s Arabic-language media outlet RT Arabic, the KYB-UAV “kamikaze drone” (also referred to as KUB-BLA or “Cube”) has passed government field tests and is now ready for procurement by Russian forces, which is expected to begin this year. The KYB-UAV is made by ZALA AERO, a subsidiary of the Kalashnikov Concern, itself a subsidiary of Rostec. The KYB-UAV was first made public at Abu Dhabi’s 2019 weapons expo (IDEX-2019). In December 2020, Rostec’s CEO explained that the KYB, along with a more advanced ZALA AERO loitering munitions platform called the Lancet, distinguishable by its double x-shaped tail, had both been tested in Syria that year. A documentary that aired last December on the state-owned Russian-language news channel Russia 24 includes an interview with a purported Russian Lancet operator who oversaw more than 40 strikes in Syria, including a pair of targeted assassinations in Hama Province in April 2020. Recently, Russian state television networksfeatured several clips of Lancets being used in Syria to target rebel positions and infrastructure. As the article from the Syrian opposition news network Shaam News Network notes, a recent clip shows a Lancet targeting a small oil refinery in rural Hama Province. However, the accuracy of Syrian opposition media reports on these platforms is limited, given the difficulty in distinguishing them from other weapons, and because Iranian and Syrian government forces operate similar, though more rudimentary, kamikaze drones.
“مصدر روسي يعلن إنجاز اختبارات الدرون الانتحاري كوب
(Russian Source Announces Success of ‘Cube’ Suicide Drone Tests),” RT Arabic (Russian Arabic-language news network), 16 December 2021. https://tinyurl.com/2p86e54n
A source close to the Russian Ministry of Defense said that government tests of the KYB loitering munition have been completed, and the results of the tests are considered positive. The source added: “As a result of these tests, it was recommended that the Russian army be armed with this new type of strike attack drone.” The source indicated that the delivery of these drones to the armed forces will most likely start in 2022.
“الدفاع الروسية تستعرض مسيرات لانسيت الانتحارية بمقاطع تظهر استخدامها بسوريا
(Russian Defense Ministry Displays Use of ‘Lancet’ Suicide UAV in Video Clip from Syria),” Shaam News Network (Syrian opposition news network), 26 December 2021. https://tinyurl.com/bddd8f9p
The Russian Ministry of Defense published a video clip showing the use of “Lancet” Russian suicide drones, which it said shows the destruction of a small oil refinery factory belonging to the rebel factions in the countryside of Hama. Sham News Network was unable to determine the target location. Video clips were also posted on the telegram channel of Russia-1 journalist Alexander Rogatkin. The full version will be shown on Saturday on the Russia 24 TV channel. The journalist explained on his channel: “A small oil refinery belonging to Syrian militants was destroyed in the Hama countryside with the help of two munitions by the special operations forces of the Russian Armed Forces. It is assumed that Lancet drones were used.”
Source: “Война Дронов – 2021 (Drone Wars – 2021),” Russia 24 (State-owned Russian-language news channel), 25 December 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Me7shKOc0c
Image: ZALA Lancet loitering munition.
Source: Vitaly Kuzmin Military Blog, https://www.vitalykuzmin.net/Military/ARMY-2019-Exhibition-pavilions/i-HwGLLZC/A
Attribution: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. https://www.vitalykuzmin.net/Copyright-policy