Ukrainian RUBAKA kamikaze drone can hit target at 500km range

The information appeared online about a new Ukrainian development – the kamikaze drone RUBAKA, capable of reaching a range of up to 500 km (310 miles).

Ukrainian long-range drone RUBAKA. Image from open sources via Defense Express

According to the publication in Defense Express, the new UAV is named RUBAKA. It looks conceptually similar to Iranian Shahed-136, but also has one specific design element.

The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine intends to employ the new drones in combat to deliver explosive charges. The mass of the carried warhead is subject to varying estimates, ranging from 2-5 kg to 15 kg.

The manufacturer of these UAVs and the expected production rate have not been disclosed publicly yet. The drones are estimated to cost approximately $15,000 each – which is not much considering the prices of alternative modern military drones. 

An image from the presentation of the kamikaze drone RUBAKA, July 2023. Image from open sources via Defense Express

What sets RUBAKA apart is its unique structural configuration, being the only kamikaze drone in the world with a power plant and propeller installed in the nose, rather than the tail fuselage. This decision was likely influenced by the characteristics of the small aircraft engine used in the drone.

Furthermore, unlike many other UAVs, RUBAKA lacks an optoelectronic station, suggesting it is designed for striking pre-designated targets and utilizes an inertial guidance system. An air pressure sensor on the right edge of the wing supports the use of this particular guidance system.

The introduction of such a kamikaze drone to the Ukrainian Defense Forces’ arsenal is intriguing and promising – not just for the expansion of their UAV production capabilities, but also due to the novel design aspects of the RUBAKA drone.

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