Video footage released by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense earlier this month appears to show Ukraine’s new “Ironclad” combat drone vehicle in action against Russian forces.
The video, which the ministry shared on X, formerly Twitter, bears the insignia of Ukraine’s 5th Separate Assault Brigade, and it shows a vehicle on a tree-lined road firing down the road at distant targets, creating several explosions.
Business Insider could not independently verify the video.
Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation, said in a Facebook post in September that the military was using the drone to “assault enemy positions, conduct reconnaissance and provide fire support to the military.”
“This is a revolutionary product from Ukrainian engineers at Roboneers that changes the way warfare is conducted and helps save the most valuable thing – the lives of our military,” Fedorov said.
He continued that the drone could hit speeds above 12 mph and comes with a combat turret known as Shablya, adding that it also has “an armored shell that protects it from small arms.”
The Shablya system is a remotely operated “combat platform” designed to be attached to certain vehicles or objects, the manufacturer, Roboneers, says on its website.
The manufacturer says the system can rotate 360 degrees and detect human-size targets up to 1,800 meters, or about 5,900 feet, away. It also features a thermal-imaging camera.
The prevalent use of drones and technological advances has marked the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Russia has repeatedly turned to Iranian-made exploding drones in its attacks on Ukraine.
Ukraine has also looked to develop drones that can attack enemy positions from land and sea.
In July, Ukraine showed CNN a new sea drone designed to limit the Russian fleet’s operations in the Black Sea. The CNN report said the drone was packed with hundreds of pounds of explosives and could hit targets 500 miles away.
One video shared on X also highlighted how Ukrainian soldiers were building their own ground-based exploding drones, with the footage appearing to show a vehicle strapped with 55 pounds of explosives traveling through over “4 km of enemy-controlled territory” to take out a bridge.
But drone warfare has arguably ground the war to a halt, especially along the eastern front and the Dnipro River, where fighting has been particularly fierce in recent months.
“Nobody really knows how to advance right now. Everything gets smashed up by drones and artillery,” Gleb Molchanov, a Ukrainian drone operator, told The Guardian.
“It’s a war of armor against projectiles. At the moment, projectiles are winning,” he added.
Correction: February 1, 2024 — This story was updated to more clearly state what the video from Ukraine’s defense ministry showed. While the Shablya weapons platform is said to be able to support an M2 machine gun, it’s unclear from the video which weapon the vehicle was firing.