On May 4, the Ukrainian air force reported that it had brought down one of its own Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drones over Kyiv.
Initially, Andriy Yermak, the Chief of Staff for the Ukrainian President, had claimed that an enemy drone had been shot down.
However, the air force later disclosed that the drone was actually Ukrainian and had been deliberately destroyed to prevent any “undesirable circumstances.”
Eyewitnesses on the ground managed to capture some striking photographs and videos of the event. As per the Ukrainian Air Force’s statement, the TB2 drone was on a scheduled flight when it lost control.
While the exact details of the incident are still being examined, the Ukrainian Air Force mentioned that a possible technical issue could have caused the mishap.
— ?? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) May 4, 2023
“At about 8 pm (1700 GMT), a Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial device lost control during a scheduled flight in the Kyiv region… the target was destroyed!” the air force said.
The service’s explanation for the incident seems quite reasonable, as it’s common practice to shoot down a drone that has lost control. The reason why the TB2 drone was flying in that area during its scheduled flight remains unclear.
While the exact number of TB2 drones owned by Ukraine is unknown, it’s believed that the country received several dozens from Turkey after Russia’s full-scale invasion. Additionally, Kyiv is said to have acquired a few more drones from other sources.
A video posted on Twitter captured the exact moment the drone was shot down, which was followed by loud cheers from the spectators who were present there.
According to experts, it’s not surprising that a friendly drone like the TB2 might lose control over the skies of Kyiv, given the intense electronic warfare reportedly happening during a big wave of drone and missile attacks.
With so much activity going on in the airspace, signals can become jammed, or communications can be disrupted, leading to the loss of control of the drone.
TB2 Drone In Ukraine War
The Bayraktar TB2 drone, produced by the Turkish manufacturer Baykar, has become an emblem of Ukrainian defiance in the face of the Russian invasion.
In the early stages of the conflict, videos of these drones wreaking havoc on columns of Russian tanks and armored vehicles emerged, causing them to gain widespread recognition as a symbol of the Ukrainian resistance.
Reports indicate that the use of TB2 drones in the current conflict has been heavily restricted overall due to Russia’s improved anti-air defenses beyond the front lines.
Russian forces previously claimed to have destroyed more than 100 Bayraktar TB2 drones provided to Ukraine by Turkey since the start of the conflict.
The Bayraktar TB2 drones can carry small precision-guided munitions or be used for surveillance and reconnaissance purposes.
The drone hovering over Kyiv did not seem to be armed with any weapons, although it was equipped with a sensor turret underneath the fuselage, which is a standard feature for this type of drone.
It remains unclear which specific weapon was used to take down the drone, but visuals captured in Kyiv undoubtedly depict a missile striking the drone, causing it to burst into flames before plummeting to the ground.
Meanwhile, during the night of May 3-4, Russian forces reportedly unleashed a barrage of Iranian-made Kamikaze drones toward Kyiv and the port city of Odesa.
Ukrainian officials later declared they had successfully taken down 18 of the 24 drones launched. According to Serhiy Popko, head of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, the capital had not seen such a high volume of attacks since the start of the year.
The Russian strikes were in response to alleged drone attacks on the Kremlin. Russian officials have accused Ukraine of being responsible for the attacks and claim that the United States had a hand in assisting them.
Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, have denied involvement, and US authorities have denied any responsibility. The situation remains tense and uncertain as both sides continue to trade accusations and engage in military actions.
Nevertheless, the TB2 drone being shot down over Kyiv is a stark reminder of the ongoing tensions in the region. The circumstances surrounding the incident are unclear, but it highlights the high-alert status of air defenses in and around the city.