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EW to fight drone swarms - part 1

The latest tensions in the Gulf were triggered by an attack of two dozen drones and cruise missiles on Saudi oil facilities. The Army Standard online publication writes how dangerous drones are, which tactic they can engage and whether they can be effectively stopped.

EW to fight drone swarms part 1 CETC drones, that can perform swarm formation (Picture source: CETC )

Three decades ago unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) existed in single numbers and were tested by developed nations. Today many countries developed lines of drones ranging from micro to strategic. Drones have become irreplaceable in reconnaissance and strikes.

The United States has a full line of drones. China and Russia are creating drones of various class. Israel has a limited line of drones due to a small territory. However, they are perfect craft. One of them was used as the basis to create the Russian medium-range Forpost UAV. Turkey, India and other countries are also creating drones.

UAV are no longer the business of government armies. Illegal armed formations and terrorists also operate them. The attack on Saudi oil facilities confirmed drone effectiveness. It showed the role of cheap drones and their impact on local war and global processes, including economic ones. The result and impact on the world oil market is well known. Currencies began to fall and the military-political situation aggravated in the world. It means a local strike with twenty drones provided a global effect.

Houthis in Yemen said their drones and cruise missiles hit Saudi oil deposits and refineries at a distance of 900 km. Twenty drones and cruise missiles were likely used. The drones were likely engaged in reconnaissance and then delivered a strike. Cruise missiles hit targets with available coordinates using satellite navigation channels to adjust the trajectory.

The Russian army also encountered drones in Syria when terrorists attacked Humaymim airbase. The attacks regularly continue.

The analysis of downed drones in Syria confirmed they can be created without an industrial base. They can be produced in limited conditions from prefabricated units, control systems and engines.

Terrorists engaged drones also in Iraq against US forces.

The next stage of UAV development has begun. It switches from the engagement of solo drones to swarms. The craft create an order in the air and can automatically keep it depending on the mission. As a rule, it concerns small and medium-range drones, as well as flight duration. Developed nations are actively engaged in the work.

Various shows with hundreds of drones are a confirmation. So far they perform simple maneuvers. However, an artificial neuron network can effectively engage the swarm in combat and attack air defense radars, for example. The standoff moves from armies to terrorist formations.

The fight against small drones with extremely low cross-section is becoming vital. The Russian armed forces were ready for the threat. The defense industry created electronic warfare (EW) and air defense which can effectively fight UAV.

As for EW, the main mission is electronic reconnaissance, i.e. detection of drones in airspace from which they can threaten military facilities.

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