Ukrainian pilots seek hover bombs to bomb Russian troops. Ukraine's new Ram II drones clear the way

There is middle ground along the battle line in Ukraine – a line of land between 15 and 25 miles from the front line that is too far for enemy howitzers and drones to engage, yet close enough for enemy aircraft operating over or near the front.

In the first two years of Russia's wider war against Ukraine, Ukrainian forces did not have a weapon optimized for attacking this air defense zone – but Russian forces did: their Lancet drones, Forbes reports.

These 25-kilogram propeller-driven drones – each costing $35.000 – fly in tight circles, scanning with their cameras until they spot something that matches the shape of an enemy vehicle. Then they head towards the target and explode.

Russian Lancet drones hit hundreds of Ukrainian vehicles, including a number of air defense vehicles, helping to drive Ukrainian air defenders away from the front line – and thus creating a safe zone for Russian warplanes and helicopters to operate.

Now it's the turn of the Ukrainians. In February, Ukraine's drone industry began mass production of a Lancet analogue called the Ram II. However, this drone is not a copy of the Russian Lancet.

It is an upgraded version of an older Ukrainian drone called Leleka-100.

The Ram II travels up to 19 miles with a seven-pound warhead and hits within three meters of its target, according to Deviro. The company described it as "revolutionary [and] easy to use."

The Ram II functions like a Lancet, scanning and striking with only minimal human input.

Since appearing along the front lines in recent weeks, the Ram II has begun to wreak havoc on Russian air defenses.

In one day, on April 9, intelligence analyst Andrew Perpetua counted five Russian air defense vehicles that he believed were hit by this very drone.

It's hard to overstate the importance of Ukraine's new drone campaign targeting Russian air defenses.

While hundreds of thousands of small drones in Ukraine press Russian tanks, combat vehicles, golf carts and infantry on the front lines, larger and more expensive Ukrainian long-range strike drones travel hundreds of miles into the Russian heartland to attack air bases, refineries and oil plants, "Ram II" operate precisely in that intermediate air defense zone.

And if they manage to destroy enough Russian air defenses, they could do for the Ukrainian Air Force what the Russian Lancets did for the Russian Air Force, clear the way for fighter-bombers to move towards the front line of high altitude and to drop precision bombs.

KAB hover bombs are the decisive weapon of the third year of the wider Russian war against Ukraine.

Any KAB bomb, regardless of its size, can destroy a Ukrainian position and clear the way for Russian ground forces.

The KAB is a "wonder weapon" for the Russians, noted the Ukrainian Deep State. And the Ukrainians "practically have no countermeasures."

But that does not mean that Ukrainians are powerless to fight back. The Ukrainian Air Force has received long-range joint direct attack flying bombs from the United States that are at least equal to the KAB.

This US ammunition may have run out in six months after Russia-friendly US House Republicans blocked further US aid to Ukraine.

But the Ukrainian air force receives 50 French-made Hummer bombs each month – and has modified its MiG and Sukhoi fighters to carry them.

Fifty French hover bombs a month is not much compared to the Russians dropping thousands of "KAB" in the same period of time.

But if and when Republicans relent and allow a vote on new US aid, more "JDAM-ERs" could arrive.

And perhaps, by then, Ukrainian Ram IIs will suppress Russian air defenses and make air operations safer for Ukrainian aircraft.

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