Ukraine: Russian tanks appear to be struck by missiles in Kharkiv
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Russian tanks and armoured vehicles are being battered by modified Soviet-era RKG-3 anti-tank grenades. Thanks to 3D-printing technology, these outdated grenades have been given a new lease of life by the printed plastic tail fins which are attached to stabile the weapons as they fall. This is reportedly causing chaos to the top of turrets on Russian tanks are they are not too well protected.
The weak armour on the top of the vehicles leaves them more exposed to these attacks from above.
And worryingly for the Russians, these weapons are made even more effective as they cannot be seen or heard.
The new weapons, dubbed the RKG-1600, only weigh about 1kg.
Parachutes are also used to stabilise the grenade as it falls at a 90 degree angle to make sure it strikes its target with maximum effect.
The size of the weapons also means that that they can potentially be dropped using regular civilian drones that can be bought online, turning them into unmanned bombers.
But the Ukrainian army has been dropping these bombs using octocopter drones.
These drones are super light and can carry cameras, which means they can be operated from hundreds of metres away on unsuspecting targets.
The Telegraph reports that this small size makes them “almost impossible to see or hear” from the ground.
Tests have reportedly proved that the grenades can be dropped from a huge height of 300 metres and still successfully smash into a one metre target.
Aerorozvidka, a unit of Ukraine’s army, has released a video revealing its octocopter drones with two RKG-1600 bomblets mounted beneath them.
Footage also showed the modified weapons being dropped on to Russian soldiers.
A drone also dropped an RKG-1600 on a Russian logistics vehicle.
The news of this weapon will likely spark terror among Russian forces, which had already been losing vast numbers of tanks due to anti-tank weaponry.
While reports differ, the number of Russian tanks destroyed in Ukraine is in thought to be at least in the hundreds.
Ukraine’s army reported in April that over 680 had been destroyed since the start of Russia’s invasion in mid-February.
The Rand Corporation and the IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies) reported that Russia had about 2,700 main battle tanks at the beginning of the war.
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While the updated Soviet grenades might be giving Russian tanks a hard time, a vast array of other weapons provided to Ukraine have been sending shivers down the spines of Russian troops too.
The UK has sent thousands of Next Generation Light Anti-tank Weapon missiles (NLAW), as well as javelin missiles.
NLAWs also exploit the exposed turret top of tanks as the explode when passing over.
Nick Reynolds, research analyst in land warfare at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) told the BBC: “Javelin and NLAW are very potent.
“Without this lethal aid, the situation in Ukraine would be very different.”
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