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Ukraine Air Force: Russia deploys “record number” of reconnaissance drones along frontline

The increased number of reconnaissance drones might be linked to Russia’s attempts to gather more information to plan offensive actions.
Orlan
Russian Orlan-10 drone. Credit: Vadim Savitsky, Wikimedia Commons
Ukraine Air Force: Russia deploys “record number” of reconnaissance drones along frontline

Russian troops are using a “record number” of reconnaissance drones along the entire frontline, with a significant presence in the southern direction and Kharkiv Oblast (Ukraine’s east), Yurii Ihnat, Ukrainian Air Force spokesman, said on Ukrainian TV on 27 February.

This surge in drone activity likely indicates a shift in Russia’s approach to intelligence gathering and military operations planning, especially in light of recent setbacks in airborne reconnaissance capabilities, marked by the loss of their third A-50 AWACS aircraft.

“Today, there is a record number of enemy drones on the frontline. There are many in the southern direction. Various types of UAVs, including SuperCam, ZALA, and Orlan, are hovering over the Dnipro,” Ihnat explained.

Ihnat suggested that the increased number of reconnaissance drones might be linked to Russia’s attempts to gather more information to plan offensive actions. He also noted that these reconnaissance drones cannot replace the Russian A-50 aircraft, which conducted radar reconnaissance.

Air Force Command spox said that Russian forces have refrained from deploying the A-50 AWACS aircraft for three days after a Russian A-50 was downed by Ukrainian Defense Forces using an S-200 air defense system on 23 February. This incident represents the third loss of a Russian A-50 aircraft, with previous events including the disablement of a similar aircraft by Belarusian partisans at the Machulishchy airbase in February 2023 and the Ukrainian Air Force’s successful downing of A-50 and Il-22 aircraft on 14 January 2024.

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