Russia Identifies ‘Abrams Killer’ FVP Drone That Destroyed First-Ever US-Origin Tank Supplied To Ukraine

Drones have become the nemesis of tanks in the Ukraine war. While the recent destruction of the first US-supplied M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT) in Ukraine was caused by a Russian ‘Piranha’ First Person View (FPV) drone, several Russian tanks have been taken out by Ukrainian drones.  

A representative of the Piranha design bureau in Ulyanovsk told Russian state news agency TASS that he had received information from the officers who were responsible for the destruction of the Abrams that the kill was scored in a meticulous operation carried out by a ‘Piranha’ First Person View (FPV) drone.

“I received this information from a customer who sent a communication with the commander of the battalion team that had hit the tank. He said that it was our Piranha. Then this information appeared in news stories and Telegram channels showing the footage of the burning Abrams,” he said.

He said these drones had already targeted other enemy armored vehicles. The primary purpose of the drone is to target Ukrainian army positions and dugouts. He went on to say that “Piranha” is unique in the frequencies that it operates in without offering any details on the specifications of this little-known drone.

“No one has video transmitters on such a frequency. During electronic warfare tests, it proved to be the only drone that could not be suppressed,” he reportedly told the media.

Additionally, a website called ‘‘ which could belong to the manufacturer of the Abrams-killer drone features two products: ‘Piranha-10 UAV’ which has a maximum speed of 140 kilometers per hour, and a ‘Pirania-7 UAV’ which has a maximum speed of 125 kilometers. Besides these, there is also a drone called ‘UAV Pirania-10 with Thermal Imager’ in the list of products.

EurAsian Times could not confirm whether these are the same class of drones that were employed by Russian troops to knock out the US-origin combat-hardened tank.

While the details of the drone used are scarce, unmanned systems and Russian defense technology expert Samuel Bendett wrote on Platform X earlier that the “Piranha” FPV drone being used in Ukraine was being advertised by Russia’s Project Archangel volunteer effort.

Bendett also published a video that claimed to feature the Piranha FPV drones. He mentioned that many FPV drones were being assembled by Russian volunteers for use by Russian troops.

When the first Abrams kill was reported, some pro-Russian military bloggers noted that the MBT, the cost of which roughly ranges between $5 million to $9 million, was taken out by an inexpensive $30,000 drone. However, the name of the drone remained under wraps until now.

On February 27, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that Russian forces had destroyed an Abrams tank manufactured in the United States in the vicinity of Avdiivka in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) on February 26. The Russian MoD, incidentally, is yet to confirm the alleged role of the Piranha drone in the destruction of the said Abrams MBT.

The destruction of the tank came as a breakthrough for the Russian forces, which aggressively pushed inside Avdiivka and managed to capture the town. As the destruction report was made public, the advisor to the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Yan Gagin, stressed that any new equipment supplied by the West to the Kyiv regime was vulnerable.

Russian Forces Celebrate after Taking Out Abrams

In the wee hours of February 26, images and videos purportedly depicting a burning Ukrainian Abrams started doing the rounds on social media. The tank was reportedly operating in the eastern Donetsk area of Ukraine, close to the town of Avdiivka.

Viewed through a portable drone controller, an overhead photo showed the rear side of the tank on fire after the alleged strike. Additionally, the purported video footage of the Ukrainian Abrams shows a massive fire rising from the turret’s back, likely caused by the detonation of secondary munitions.

According to Russian official media, a reconnaissance drone had observed the tank before knocking it out. Some reports speculated that the tank was likely hit by a one-way strike drone first and then by a grenade launcher to complete the task. These claims could not, however, be corroborated.

Governor Vladimir Saldo said in a post on his official Telegram channel that the Abrams “burns even brighter than the Leopards,” referring to the German-made tank which has also been extensively deployed by the Ukrainian Army.

Gloating on securing the kill of a tank that is believed to be among the best in the world, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shogun said, “From the very beginning, our soldiers said that these tanks would burn just like any others.”

Drones from both sides – the Russian and the Ukrainian — have been employed to strike at tanks in the Ukraine war. The first British-built Challenger tank to be destroyed in Ukraine suffered a minefield defeat at the hands of a Lancet drone, while the first German-made Leopard tank destroyed in the nation appears to have been lost to artillery fire directed by a drone.

File Image: Destroyed Abrams Tank

Drones have also destroyed multiple Russian tanks that are more recent, as well as many tanks from the Soviet era that are on both sides of the conflict. Several videos on social media have shown how either side has employed drones to strike.

Although the Abrams is believed to be the strongest and the most survivable tank in the world, military analysts have noted that no war machine operating and moving on the ground is invisible in the era of drone warfare.

Earlier, a decorated Russian tank battalion commander holding the Order of Courage and the Medal for Courage, Captain Sambu Khutakov, warned that Russian tank crews were actively preparing for a hunt to challenge American Abrams tanks. It is almost ironic that the tank was ultimately taken out by a drone instead of a Russian tank, as anticipated.

Pro-Kremlin groups and experts released manuals and videos providing detailed information on neutralizing an Abrams tank effectively. These instruct attackers to target specific vulnerabilities, such as damaging the optics and communication systems on the turret’s roof using large-caliber weapons.

Several military analysts have also emphasized that the limited number of Abrams transferred to Ukraine would hardly be game changers. Unfazed by these comments, Ukraine has continued to appeal to other tank users, like Australia, to transfer their old M1A1 Abrams tanks to Kyiv’s forces.