Ukraine says it used 7 exploding drones to take out a $100 million Russian radar system

  • Ukraine said on Tuesday that it used seven exploding drones to destroy a Russian radar system.

  • Ukrainian media reported that the system was a Nebo-U, which monitors hundreds of miles of airspace.

  • Ukraine assessed that the Nebo-U, downed by cheap drones, was worth $100 million.

Ukrainian media reported on Tuesday that Kyiv destroyed a sophisticated Russian radar complex using seven exploding drones, in another apparent sign of how the cheap unmanned devices are changing the face of modern combat.

Citing an unnamed source from the Security Service of Ukraine, or the SBU, The Kyiv Independent and Ukrainska Pravda reported that the Russian system was a Nebo-U radar complex stationed in Bryansk, a Russian region bordering northern Ukraine.

The Nebo-U system was monitoring Ukrainian airspace as deep as 434 miles past the border and was worth about $100 million, the outlets reported.

The exact price of this Nebo-U isn't immediately clear, but reports from Russian state media say it's a newer system that was rolled out to Russian forces about eight years ago.

The SBU source said that with the elimination of this Nebo-U, Russia now had "fewer opportunities to detect air targets along Ukraine's northern border."

Ukraine said this was the second Nebo-U it had destroyed, with the first taken out in Belgorod, a Russian region near the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

Multiple variations of the Nebo, which translates to "sky," are used by Russian air and ground forces. More modern versions, such as the Nebo-U and the Nebo-M, were listed at launch by Russian media as being able to detect aircraft, guided missiles, and ballistics up to a range of 372 miles.

In recent weeks, Ukraine has intensified drone strikes on Russian soil, attacking targets hundreds of miles from the front lines. On April 5, for example, it launched a large-scale drone attack on an airbase in the Russian region of Rostov.

Kyiv has also struck multiple Russian oil-processing facilities in border regions, including Russia's third-biggest refinery, which is some 800 miles from the front lines.

The Russian defense ministry and Ukraine's security services didn't immediately respond to requests for comment sent outside regular business hours by Business Insider.

The war in Ukraine has cast a spotlight on the combat deployment of first-person unmanned drones, which are inexpensive and often equipped with explosives that can be dropped on or flown into targets with precision.

The tactic has been used more widely in recent high-profile conflicts elsewhere, including by Hamas in its October 7 attacks on Israel and by Yemen's Houthi rebels harassing international ships in the Red Sea.

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