Russian soldiers have been regularly shooting down a large heavy-lift multirotor quadcopter that Ukraine uses to drop bombs and explosives on Russian positions. Yet, the civilian agricultural drones continue to harass Russian positions, indicating the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) has a large stockpile.
The latest video by the RuMoD’s Zvezda channel shows a Russian soldier shooting at a Baba Yaga drone with his assault rifle, with the drone being later captured by Russian forces.
Russia is also actively using electronic warfare (EW) and hand-held jammers to bring down such drones. It has also employed its drones to ram into these large Ukrainian UAVs in a bid to bring them down.
Based on Ukrainian claims of its attacks on Russian troops and experiences of soldiers posted on various Telegram groups, Baba Yaga – named after a supposed witch in old Slavic folklore – is used at night, considerably obstructing and disrupting Russian troop movements.
A photo from April this year showed a shot down Baba Yaga with three simple drop bombs suspended in its underbelly. Another picture showed Russian soldiers before what appeared to be two large drones – a six-arm and a four-arm quadcopter.
A November 28 video from the United24 initiative, shared by the defense ministry of Ukraine, showed the Baba Yaga (also ‘Vampire’) calling it the “Russian’s nightmare.” United24 is the Ukrainian government’s crowdfunding and digital media site.
Fitted with thermal imaging and infrared cameras to allow them to operate at night, the drone carries 15 kilograms of payload for a flight distance of up to 10 kilometers, “(becoming) a true nightmare for the Russians.”
The short video features a specific drone unit, Unit Code 9.2, outside Bakhmut, explaining that the operators use Chinese-origin DJI Mavic drones – sometimes crudely attaching explosives to them – during the day.
Previously, in August, Mykhailo Fedorov, the vice prime minister of Ukraine for innovation, education, science, and technology, posted a video showing off a room full of Vampire drones. He said 270 UAVs would be headed to the front lines “to back up our Ukrainian soldiers during the counteroffensive.”
Russian Telegram channel ‘Filatov Corr’ described how the Baba Yaga creates problems for Russian soldiers in a July 28 post. “Across the front line, the problem is Baba Yaga – an agricultural drone that burns our equipment at night, and we have to move our equipment back. Ukrainian forces are actively using counter-battery fires against our artillery, and their small infantry groups are squeezing us out of the gray zone and positions. Our equipment is far away – it’s hiding from Baba Yaga.”
Russian Soldier Shoots Down Drone
The latest video shows overhead footage from a drone, with the camera reticule focusing on a Russian soldier in a trench. The soldier is presumably on sentry duty and looking around when he suddenly raises what appears to be a PKT/PKM heavy machine gun and fires at the drone. The recording shows the ground passing rapidly, indicating the drone has been hit and is drifting off course.
Russian fighter shoots down Ukraine's heavy agricultural-turned-bomber drone, Baba Yaga. A lot of Baba Yagas have been shot down recently. pic.twitter.com/gT9T5waDqd
— EurAsian Times (@THEEURASIATIMES) December 28, 2023
The next part of the video shows the drone inside a room, with some damage visible and part of a rotor blade missing, being inspected by a Russian soldier. The RuMoD, which too shared the video, said the Russian soldier was a “paratrooper” from the Russian city of Kostroma who “shot down a Baba Yaga-type attack drone of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the sky near Artemovsk.”
“The footage from the downed copter clearly shows how it hovers over our positions for dropping mines, but at that moment, an anti-drone gun blocks it, and an anti-aircraft gunner shoots down an enemy drone with a machine gun,” RuMoD said on its Telegram channel.
The description suggests that a hand-held anti-drone gun, like the PARS-S or the Stupor, must have also been used to jam and disable the drone, which of the two systems the Russian ground unit used precisely is unclear.
Earlier videos also showed dramatic footage from a ground thermal imager, showing a Baba Yaga in the air and Russian soldiers firing at the UAV. The drone is seen receiving hits as parts come flying off the aircraft when it descends and crashes on the ground, and Russian soldiers celebrate in jubilation.