The Iranian Drones in Ukraine’s Already Crowded Skies
WASHINGTON — The Iranian Shahed-136 drone was designed to explode on impact, and on Monday, Russian forces launched dozens of them at targets across Ukraine. One hit an apartment building in Kyiv, the capital, killing four people, including a woman who was six months pregnant.
As the war enters its ninth month, the Shahed is among dozens of types of drones, including remote-controlled surveillance types and programmable flying bombs, being used on battlefields in Ukraine. They also include military drones produced by the United States, Turkey and Russia and commercial-grade drones made in China.
The full range of models, and which countries supplied them, is unclear. But the rapid increase in the number and types of unmanned drones deployed in the war signals that smaller, less-expensive weapons like the Shahed will probably become a staple of modern armed conflicts.
Some are surveillance drones — unmanned aerial systems in military parlance — essentially small propeller-driven…