Ukraine Starts Mass-Producing UJ-26 Kamikaze UAV

Ukraine Starts Mass-Producing UJ-26 Kamikaze UAV

UJ-26 Beaver is stated to have a range of 800 km and carry a warhead weighing about 20 kg. Unlike most kamikaze UAVs launched with runway-independent methods such as RATO (Rocket Assisted Take-off) or catapult launch, the UAV takes off from a runway.

Ukraine utilised this concept with modified commercial UAVs in the past for attacks on Russian Gas facilities in 2022. The UAVs were in a similar configuration to the UJ-26, having landing gear for take-off and an explosive payload of about 20 kg. Ukraine might be aiming to further refine the concept with UJ-26 tailored from the start for military needs, especially in terms of communication.

Both sides of the war are known to utilise long-range kamikaze UAVs as an alternative to the more expensive cruise missiles for soft targets. Most of said UAVs have been observed to use commercial components, shortening development and production time. 

It should be kept in mind because kamikaze UAVs are slower than cruise missiles flying at high-subsonic speeds, they are easier to neutralise once detected individually and take a longer time to reach the target.