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Some estimates of the use of UAVs of the "Geranium" type
Material posted: Publication date: 21-11-2022
Although constructively "Shahids" can be called "simple weapons", their potential should not be underestimated. The problem of combating small-sized low-flying aircraft has been around for decades, and no adequate cost-effectiveness methods of combating them have been created in this way. The understanding of this issue occurred in the 80s of the last century with the advent of mass subsonic cruise missiles capable of hitting targets using the cover of low altitudes and terrain. In this case, any counteraction measures justified themselves – the own cost of cruise missiles was high enough to use fighters and SAMs to intercept them, as well as to create highly specialized equipment designed to combat this type of weapons. However, the appearance of compact piston UAVs on the battlefield made significant adjustments to the situation of "sword and shield confrontation" (Air Force and air Defense).

Their use was one of the reasons for the monstrous defeat of the Syrian air defense in Lebanon, equipped with Soviet weapons (Operation Medvedka-19). Technically, the UAV was a slow, sluggish and vulnerable target, but in practice it was difficult to hit it – and, importantly, the cost of drone weapons was nothing compared to their own cost. But with the end of the Cold War, this issue was no longer raised and did not arouse interest – there were no large-scale conflicts between technically equipped armies, and as part of counter-guerrilla campaigns, UAVs did not pose such a serious threat, especially since they mainly involved handicraft devices in small quantities. In this regard, the armed forces of many countries went to a complete reduction of tactical air defense and refused to develop it – but, as it turned out now, it was done in vain.

By itself, the Shahid is not a technical challenge – it is a simple and generally unremarkable device. This challenge is entirely conceptual: Iranian projectile planes, by their existence, strike at the most painful place of any modern army - it is a massive and very cheap weapon capable of penetrating to a great depth into the zone of operation of echeloned air defense, while remaining unnoticed. It is not highly effective (due to the fact that it can only hit stationary unprotected objects), but it is dangerous enough to force the enemy to look for methods of counteraction, thereby taking away a large amount of valuable resources from him. Given the cyclical nature of military thought and the development of technology, it is expected that the solution to the problem of hitting projectile aircraft (the creation and use of which, in essence, is the reincarnation of the ideas of the Second World War) will be found in some traditional solution - for example, the revival of anti–aircraft artillery, which at the current time looks like the most promising and reliable option to counter aircraft devices of this type. Summing up, it is worth saying that at the moment the use of "Shahids" has become the most serious challenge faced by the air defense of Ukraine.

In previous months, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, albeit not without problems, but countered most of the threats that the Russian arsenal of aviation and missile weapons could pose. Projectile planes, by virtue of their characteristics, are weapons that the Ukrainian air defense forces did not prepare for, just as all the other armies of the world did not prepare for - so from the point of view of military theory and analysis, the confrontation between the sword and the shield that is now playing out can be called, perhaps, epochal. It will undoubtedly have a great impact on the development of both unmanned and anti-aircraft systems.

Perhaps it is worth expressing the main idea more clearly and straightforwardly.
The main achievement of Iran was not the ability to produce weapons – it is, in fact, a completely insignificant detail. Iron is just iron, the main thing in armaments is the military thought within which they are created. This is the concentration of large amounts of information, analysis, search for solutions, intellectual work. Iranian theorists were able to find the weakest point of modern military construction by creating a sample of weapons from the era of mass armaments – cheap and maximally integrated with components of civilian industry. "Shahid" is not a weapon of the digital era; it is literally a direct descendant of the V-1, but its key advantage lies in this technical primitivism. The main lesson of the current day is the lesson that any military construction and any other military conflict gives. Intellectual work and theory determine everything – iron is secondary. Qualitative analysis can turn a set of even the simplest technologies into a threat, while its absence nullifies the effectiveness of any high-tech weapons.

PS: separately, it is worth paying tribute to Iranian analysts and engineers – with the use of, in general, modest resources, they were able to create extremely interesting weapons.

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