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NYT: Ukraine spends seven times more on downing drones than Russia does to launch them

The New York Times has polled military experts to discover that it is more expensive to shoot down drones than to launch them.

Over the New Year’s weekend, the Ukrainian military knocked down around 80 drones launched from Russia. The military experts doubt that Ukraine’s success can be sustainable.

The issue is that Kyiv uses surface-to-air missiles to intercept drones which cost much more than the drones themselves. This price disparity can play into Moscow’s hands in the long run, the experts say.

“Artem Starosiek, the head of Molfar, a Ukrainian consultancy that supports the country’s war effort, estimated that it costs up to seven times more to down a drone with a missile than it does to launch one,” the newspaper writes.

Molfar calculates that Russia launched around 600 drones to target Ukraine since September. The attacks most commonly involved Iran’s Shahed-136 drones. The New York Times notes that their production can cost $20,000, while the cost to build a surface-to-air missile can vary between $140,000 for a Soviet S-300 projectile and uo to $500,000 for a US NASAMS missile.

At the same time, George Barros, an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, stresses that it is still cheaper to shoot down a drone than to rebuild a destroyed power station, for example. He also underlines that air-defence systems save people’s lives.

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