As the menace of suicide drones continues to plague the Ukrainian troops, Kyiv has acquired a unique counter-drone system: a backpack that doubles up as a portable signal-jamming device.
A Ukrainian company called ‘Kvertus,’ which manufactures military equipment, has created a portable signal-jamming tool that is small enough to fit in a backpack and can take down Russian drones.
The device, which consists of two projecting antennas, breaks the link between a Russian first-person view (FPV) drone and its controller, leading the drone to miss its intended target. The drone falls some 250 meters short of its intended target as six separate communication channels, including GPS, are blocked by the “anti-drone gun.”
Since the device is portable and mobile, it also becomes difficult to target. This is significant given that both sides have made concerted efforts to obliterate each other’s air defenses and EW systems to make way for their missiles and drones.
According to reports, Ukrainian troops already use this system on the battlefield. EurAsian Times could not independently corroborate these claims. However, using portable jamming devices on the battlefield is not new.
Russian troops have previously deployed them and were known to attach backpack jammers to their combat vehicles as they advanced on their offensive.
The backpack innovation in Ukraine is significant as Russia has intensified the use of FPV drones on the frontline. On its part, Russia has a very advanced network of Electronic Warfare (EW) systems that have been giving a hard time to Ukrainian drones as they struggle to reach their designated targets.
In combat, intercepting and jamming frequencies is a matter of life and death. While Ukraine’s EW capability is not comparable to Russia’s, it has developed several innovative solutions to cope against a much superior military in the two years of war.
Additionally, protecting against drone assaults has been a priority, especially after the 2022 winter drone attack unleashed by Moscow that crippled Ukraine’s power infrastructure.
Manufacturing in the basement.
It cannot be overstated how much those ordinary Ukrainian citizens are contributing in balancing out the lack of ammunition. Even housewives are doing their part to assemble FPV drones.
— (((Tendar))) (@Tendar) February 2, 2024
The Ukrainian troops have come to recognize the pattern of Russian FPV attacks. According to reports, the Russian forces are known to be jumping frequencies to prevent their attack drones from being jammed by Ukraine.
To counter this, Ukraine covers those frequencies to guarantee that as few as possible reach their objective.
With the number of FPVs and other drones unleashed by Russia swelling by the day, the Ukrainian defense manufacturers realized that having an EW system was imperative. But it would be better to have an EW device that doesn’t have to be stationed in one place. Portability became a critical necessity.
The Ukrainian manufacturer developed an innovative backpack jamming tool to supplement these operations. In a test conducted recently, a Ukrainian operator was given a friendly drone to destroy.
When the backpack device was pointed toward the drone, it started to sway in the air and eventually fell to the ground in seconds. The test validated the system’s efficacy, as seen in the video above.
Jammers are not a miracle defense against approaching hostile drones. Researchers are developing jam-proof drones that can quickly hop between radio bands to elude jamming attempts or transition to autonomous flight when their radio links are broken.
Besides developing anti-FPV capabilities, Kyiv’s forces have drastically increased their FPV assault against Russian targets. Military observers have noted that Ukrainian troops have effectively been substituting their artillery attacks with FPV drone attacks, putting Moscow in a dangerous position.
Ukraine’s Burgeoning FPV Production & Assault
Ukraine has produced and acquired various unmanned aerial vehicles, ranging from tiny hand-sized drones to heavyweight 454-kilogram drones, to hinder and confuse Russia’s efforts. The most significant among these are FPVs armed with explosives.
These drones can carry out single-use strikes with high precision while remaining less susceptible to Russian air defense systems. Besides, unlike a traditional attack, in which shelling ends as friendly troops approach the enemy trench line, attacks by FPVs are so accurate that Ukrainian pilots can continue to strike Russian targets until their fellow soldiers are mere yards away from the enemy.
Most of these drones of such types are being produced by the Ukrainians through public-private partnerships. Ukraine has pledged to create one million FPV drones in the future.
This Russian serviceman was apparently a witness to a "flock of Ukrainian FPV drones led by a repeater drone Queen" which descended onto Russian positions and started the bombing. pic.twitter.com/LhvFg8syXW
— WarTranslated (Dmitri) (@wartranslated) January 26, 2024
Interestingly, recent reports have indicated a unique strategy employed by the Ukrainians. A Russian serviceman said that Ukrainian forces are attacking Russian positions with “flocks” of FPV (first-person-view) drones piloted by “queen” drones.
A “flock of Ukrainian FPV drones led by a repeater drone Queen” is said to have dropped against Russian positions and initiated the bombing, according to the Russian serviceman.
The soldier was questioned by Dmitry Zimenkin, an Izvestia correspondent who said that the strategy let Ukrainian drone operators “land and wait” with their smaller drones, “saving batteries.”
Zimenkin told the media, “When a large mother drone spots targets, the kamikazes take off, sometimes several meters from the target, and attack. If the Queen is eliminated, then her entire flock can be neutralized.“
Are FPV drones effective on a battlefield?
The warriors from the 72nd Mechanized Brigade, with the help of drones, turned a convoy of russian tanks and IFVs into a scrap metal army. pic.twitter.com/z62aeqJA4f
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) February 1, 2024
The public statements of the AFU’s drone acquisition attempts suggest that they may have up to 700,000 FPV drones, as RIA Novosti correspondent Alexander Kharchenko on Telegram highlighted. “Killer drones can now successfully replace artillery in repelling massive attacks, especially if the terrain allows them to be used unhindered,” Kharchenko said.
EurAsian Times had previously reported that due to Russian electronic warfare (EW) and rugged terrain that obstructs radio control signals, AFU was losing around 90% of the FPV drones it launched. However, it seems that Ukraine is still gaining more to make up for its losses, which means that Russian forces are constantly in danger.
“Awareness of this seemingly simple fact in our Armed Forces is proceeding slowly. Although Vladimir Putin recently noted at the board of the Ministry of Defense that previously the capabilities of FPV drones were seriously underestimated,” Kharchenko added.
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