Ukraine’s military has claimed that a Russian surveillance drone crossed into Polish airspace before reentering Ukrainian airspace, where it was shot down.
The destroyed Russian drone is believed to be Forpost UAV, a license-produced version of the IAI Searcher II reconnaissance drone, built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Licenses were sold to Russia in 2015, and the country is now believed to operate several dozens of such drones.
The fully domestic version Forpost-R with a range of 250km made its first flight in late August 2019. Deliveries of the modified UCAVs with reconnaissance and strike capabilities to the Russian armed forces started in 2020.
Click to read our feature detailing Russian UAVs: Russian Drone Attack
The now-destroyed Russian drone was thought to be inspecting the damage caused by Sunday’s missile attack on the Yavoriv training center, located just 20km from the border with Poland, a NATO ally. The attacks left 35 people dead and 134 others injured.
Ukrainian media reported that Russian warplanes shot nearly 30 missiles at the training center.
Did U.S. Patriot anti-aircraft system fail to destroy Russian drone?
Last week, the U.S. sent two PATRIOT surface-to-air missile batteries to Poland to defend its airspace against hostile aircraft. It is not known whether the Patriots were turned off, or if they failed to identify the Russian surveillance drone when it entered Polish airspace. The effectiveness of Patriots is also affected by ground clutter.
In 2019, Patriot missile batteries with their powerful radars came under fire after they missed hitting Yemeni drones that eventually struck Saudi Arabia’s oil installations.