Ukraine has started using new high-tech artillery shells capable of destroying two tanks in a single shot from up to 20 miles away, imagery from the battlefield has shown.
Russian sources have shared photos online showing what appeared to be a 155mm (6.1in) Bonus projectile, likely supplied by France to be fired by the Cesar self-propelled howitzers it also sent to Ukraine.
The “Tankers U” channel, run by Russian tank operators, shared an image, believed to be the first, showing an unexploded submunition recovered by Russian troops in the eastern Donetsk region.
Each Bonus shell contains two such submunitions, which feature fold-out wings and advanced sensors.
Once fired, the two submunitions are deployed high above a target area, with each searching the ground below for targets.
Once identified, the munitions lock on to a target using thermal and infrared imaging and attack them from above.
The munitions use an explosively formed penetrator – a thin sheet of metal, usually copper, that is turned into a jet of molten material by an explosive charge – to penetrate the target’s armour.
Previously released video footage showed Ukraine using a similar system, believed to be German, being used to destroy a Russian Pantsir-S1 air defence system.
A small flash of light falls from the sky before an explosion engulfs the Russian launcher.
However, a Russian military channel on the Telegram messaging app seemingly confirmed French-made Bonus shells had now been used by Ukrainian forces in the eastern Donetsk region.
Russian military bloggers have been warning their colleagues to take steps to protect themselves from the high-tech Bonus projectiles.
“Hiding the thermal footprint of systems,” Tankers U wrote. “Even from the experience of the Chechen wars, it became clear that ordinary polythene stretched over sleeping militants did not allow them to be found in a greenhouse.”
The channel then proposed to break up the outline of vehicles to further spoof the Bonus’ target acquisition.