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Russian army trains to counter UAV tactics.

| 2018

The Southern Military District (YuVO) of the Russian Ministry of Defense is developing new counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (C-UAV) tactics, according to the MoD. Special mobile C-UAV teams have already been integrated into all formations of the district. "The main task of those teams is the detection and elimination of various UAVs," the MoD said.

Russian army trains to Counter UAV tactics
Pantsir-S in dynamic display at Army 2018 near Kubinka (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The YuVO C-UAV units are now being trained to protect airfields against drone swarms, using electronic warfare (EW) systems and other assets. The C-UAV specialists detect reconnaissance UAVs and unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) flying at various altitudes and send target data to air defense systems and EW complexes. The R-934BMV and R-330Zh Zhitel (Dweller) EW systems intercept drones and suppress onboard devices that send multimedia information. "Once an UAV is detected, EW systems suppress it, neutralizing all optoelectronic subsystems. It is a less expensive method compared with hard-kill elimination," a military source from YuVO told TASS.

It should be mentioned that the district also trains its hard-kill C-UAV component. "The Pantsir-S (NATO designation: SA-22 Greyhound) self-propelled anti-air gun-missile (SPAAGM) systems and the Tor-M2 (NATO designation: SA-15 Gauntlet) short-range air defense (SHORAD) systems practice to engage drones at a distance of up to 10 km, using surface-to-air missiles (SAMs)," the MoD said. The YuVO C-UAV teams are also being trained to engage UAVs, using small arms. "During a recent exercise, a counter-drone unit utilized its organic small arms to engage a UAV flying at an altitude of 150 m. The vehicle was shot down," the military source said.

The district is trying to hammer out new comprehensive C-UAV tactics that would allow the troops to engage all types of tactical drones. "The complex use of all types of C-UAV assets ensures the best results," Commander of YuVO Aviation and Air Defense Major General Vladimir Dyatlov told media.

It should be mentioned that Russian defense industry invests largely in the development of tactical C-UAV systems. For instance, the ZALA Aero company, a subsidiary of Rostec`s Kalashnikov Group, recently unveiled its new Zont (Umbrella) man-portable C-UAV device and an updated variant of the REX-1 anti-drone EW rifle that could suppress Wi-Fi and satellite navigation signals.

The troops also employ C-UAV experience gathered during the counter-terrorism operation in Syria. "We have seen several attempts to strike the Russian contingency in Syria by UCAVs. In late August-September, the troops deployed at the Humaymim airbase shot down some 30 kamikaze drones that were armed with improvised explosive devices (IEDs)," the source said.

The Russian military employed new C-UAV tactics during the ‘Vostok 2018’ (East 2018) exercise. In particular, the soldiers used the REX-1 electronic rifles and some EW systems.
It should be mentioned that the armed forces are shoring up their hard-kill C-UAV capabilities. The troops operate the Pantsir-S SPAAGM system that is believed to be the most cost-effective hard-kill anti-drone weapon.


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