Russia needs common counterdrone concept - Part 1

There is a search for new methods to fight air targets triggered by a rapid development of drones, which pose a major danger to the warring parties and numerous economic, infrastructure objects and mass events in peacetime, Colonel PhD Military Science V. Tikshaev and Retired Lieutenant-General PhD Military Science V. Barvinenko write in the Military Thought magazine.
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Drone swarm (Picture source: U.S. Army/Pvt. James Newsome/11th Armored Cavalry Regiment)

In modern armed conflicts drones engage in a broad range of missions to increase the general effectiveness of the troops. They are used in reconnaissance to detect targets (command posts, warehouse, communication hubs, accumulations of troops and hardware) and provide real-time information about them to friendly headquarters for guidance and destruction. Reconnaissance and combat drones release bombs, mines, grenades and guided missiles.

The role of drones is demonstrated in Syria, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh, and other places. In Syria, all warring parties successfully engage them. The Turkish army used drones for reconnaissance and destruction of Kurdish and Syrian armor, automobiles, and air defense. Syrian and Russian forces use drones for reconnaissance, artillery fire adjustment, cruise missile strikes and hit monitoring. The US, Israeli and Iranian military use their own drones for reconnaissance and strikes. Terrorist makeshift mini drones regularly attack the Russian bases in Hymaymim and Tartus and strike at Syrian government forces.

Drones are engaged in hostilities and between them, in the period of direct threat of aggression, and in peacetime for reconnaissance, provocations, and strikes at military and civilian government bodies, economic and infrastructure objects. On September 14, 2019, from ten to 18 (according to various sources) drones armed with explosives were supposedly launched from Yemen and set ablaze two oil refineries in Saudi Arabia. The damage was excessive and nearly halved the national oil production and triggered an oil price hike.

There are attempts to use drones for terrorist acts, assassination of political leaders, and disorganization of air transportation.

Thus, modern technologies made it possible to use cheap drones for reconnaissance, air and missile strikes, adjustment of artillery and mortar fire, strikes at groups of forces, economic and infrastructure objects. Terrorists and radicals can use makeshift drones for terrorist acts at mass events, strikes at environmentally hazardous objects, and to inflict damage of dozens of billions of dollars. Drones can deliver illegal cargoes: drugs, explosives, weapons, etc.

The main guideline of drone development aims at creating unmanned vehicles capable of fulfilling all missions currently entrusted to manned airplanes and helicopters. Swarms of small and cheap drones can destroy troops, arms and hardware. The unmanned aviation can be more effective than the manned one due to rapid reaction of drones to changes in the situation and the absence of overload restrictions during maneuvering. Drones react faster than a pilot.

Many countries research the engagement of swarm of reconnaissance and combat drones. The artificial intelligence organizes them into a big group of mini and micro drones with a common aim to destroy a specific target, such as an air defense radar. It is difficult to fully destroy such a swarm. To change the mission, it is necessary to change some software elements and engage in effective reconnaissance and strikes at objects with minimal material costs and without loss of life. Micro and mini drone swarms, as well a dummy targets pose a big threat for adversary air defense.

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