Ukraine FPV Drones Destroy Russian Main Battle Tanks, Video Shows

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Ukrainian soldiers have taken out two Russian main battle tanks in the country’s southern Kherson region, according to Kyiv’s military on Saturday, as reported Russian vehicle losses mount ahead of the conflict reaching its two year mark.

Two tanks operating along the front lines in Kherson were struck with Ukrainian-operated first-person-view, or FPV, drones, Ukraine’s state border service wrote on Saturday in a X, formerly Twitter, post.

In an accompanying video posted by the state border service, aerial drone footage appears to show two Russian tanks before two visible explosions are seen. Another shot then shows a military vehicle in flames.

Newsweek could not independently verify the footage, and has reached out to the Russian defense ministry for comment via email.

Since it was invaded by Russia in February 2022, Ukraine has spent many months amassing its “drone army,” developing new airborne vehicles and fundraising for more. The drones cover nearly every aspect of the fighting, from helping out with reconnaissance to suicide drone strikes and guiding artillery fire.

One of the best-known unmanned aerial vehicles is the FPV drone. FPV uncrewed vehicles are frequently used to record battlefield footage, often appearing to show Ukrainian kamikaze drone strikes on Russian military equipment that is then shared by Kyiv’s military.

The explosive drones are cheap, often using commercially bought parts, and can pack a punch against an enemy’s vehicles or its personnel.

Earlier this month, a top Russian official said Moscow’s troops were contending with Ukrainian “gamers” using FPV drones across the frontline against Russian strongholds.

“This is a new type of artillery—high-precision aerial art,” Dmitry Rogozin, former head of the Russian space agency, who is now a Moscow-installed official in the annexed Zaporizhzhia region of southern Ukraine, said. “It will gradually replace conventional cannon and rocket artillery, since it is much more accurate and cheaper, and the recording of target hits is visible to the operators of these UAVs.”

A military woman studies FPV drone control during training on October 26, 2023 in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukraine. Ukrainian soldiers have taken out two Russian main battle tanks in the country’s southern Kherson region, according to…


Elena Tita/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

In early December, Mykhailo Fedorov, Kyiv’s Minister of Digital Transformation, who is at the helm of Ukraine’s drone efforts against Russia, told Newsweek that FPV drones were now becoming more useful to Ukraine’s frontline fighters than artillery.

The FPV uncrewed vehicles have quickly become “a game-changer” on the Ukrainian battlefield, taking out masses of Russian hardware, he said.

“They work sometimes even more efficiently than artillery,” Fedorov commented. “So, FPV drones are indeed a tech revolution, even though the tech itself is quite easy. But it turned out to be very efficient.”

FPV drones certainly have appeared to work better in some instances than artillery for Ukraine, United Kingdom-based drone expert, Steve Wright, told Newsweek last month. “In many ways, using battlefield FPV drones is a continuation of a trend, particularly by the West, of moving to more and more tight targeting of explosives,” he said.

However, a Ukrainian commander said in mid-December that in terms of overall numbers, Kyiv has just one drone for every five to seven Russian FPV drones in key battleground sectors of eastern and southern Ukraine.

Russian FPV drones fly into Ukraine’s airspace and search for any targets they can find there, Yuriy Fedorenko, the commander of Ukraine’s Achilles drone company, which is within the country’s 92nd Assault Brigade, told Ukrainian media.

Although Ukraine had initially dominated FPV manufacturing in 2023, Russia has ramped up its programs and sent large numbers of the unmanned vehicles to the frontlines, Samuel Bendett of the Center for Naval Analyses, a United States-based think tank, previously told Newsweek.

Russia’s FPV development has probably “grown exponentially,” Bendett said, although it is difficult to determine how many FPV drones are present on, and above, the battlefield.