According to the announcement issued by the Security Service of Ukraine, Russian-made Orlan-10 UAV was shot down during a special forces operation in the area of Avdiyivka. According to the Ukrainian authorities, such drones, even though they have been used by the Russian military since 2010 now, are still only being used by the regular units of the Russian Army. The “separatists” (rebels) have no access to this type of inventory.
The Orlan incident is thus yet another proof that regular Russian units still maintain their operational presence in Donbas. This type of systems had been used during the earlier intensive fights in the Eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian air defence units were able to shoot down at least couple of such platforms. The experts stress the fact that during the Ukrainian campaign, the Russians have showcased their capability of using the UAV systems, also within the scope of coordinating the artillery shelling operations.
Orlan-10 systems have flight endurance of up to 18 hours, they are capable of operating as far away as 120 kilometres from the control station. They are also capable of transmitting the imagery in real time. Their operational ceiling ranges from several to several thousand meters.
Pro-Russian forces are still attacking the Ukrainian Army in Donbas. In March, the Kiev authorities recorded 734 cases in which armament banned by the Minsk memorandums was used, including tank cannons, artillery and mortar shells and rockets (BM-21 Grad). In total, more than 5 thousand projectiles were shot at the Ukrainians throughout march, with the use of the aforementioned armament. The release issued on 8th April, almost 70 cases of shelling were recorded by the illegal armed groups, also with the use of 82 and 120 mm mortars, grenade launchers and self-propelled artillery.