Ukraine equips maritime drones with R-73 air-to-air missiles

Ukraine has recently deployed its maritime suicide drones armed with additional R-73 air-to-air missiles to attack Russian targets.

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation reported Ukraine’s inaugural use of maritime drones equipped with R-73 (NATO reporting name AA-11 Archer) missiles, a move aimed at countering Russian helicopters and Be-12 aircraft used for intercepting Ukrainian drone boats in the occupied Crimea.

The R-73 missile, primarily designed for air combat, has been adapted by Ukrainian engineers for use with drones. Thanks to its self-guiding thermal homing head, it offers a potent defense against aerial threats without the need for radar or complex targeting systems.

Footage released shows a Ukrainian maritime drone manoeuvring to evade fire from a Russian Ka-29 helicopter before being ultimately neutralized by targeted gunfire. Before its destruction, the drone attempted to engage a Russian Mi-8 helicopter with one of its missiles, albeit unsuccessfully.

Utilizing new types of weaponry on unmanned platforms represents a tactical response to evolving challenges in the region.

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