Pentagon faces a new air threat

Andrey Kots.

Disrupt communication with the operator, give false coordinates, forcefully land or shoot down – the Americans are seriously engaged in weapons against mini-drones. At the end of September, promising samples were demonstrated at the Yuma test site in Arizona, where a training center for training “drone drivers” was recently opened. How the Pentagon is going to repel the attacks of flocks of UAVs – in the material RIA Novosti.

For all types and genera

Small-sized UAVs have been actively used in all armed conflicts of the last decade, both by the armies of developed states and by irregular formations. The main advantage of such drones over heavy platforms is their simplicity of design. You can literally assemble a device capable of dropping an unguided ammunition onto the target, literally on your knee, the necessary parts can be ordered on the Internet. In particular, militants in Syria and the Ukrainian military in Donbas use handicraft UAVs with varying success.

Another advantage is cost. Anti-aircraft missiles, which the defenders have to spend on destroying small UAVs, are much more expensive. It is not difficult to organize a massive attack in order to oversaturate the enemy’s air defense with targets and ultimately suppress it. This is called the “drone swarm”. According to experts, in the future, it is mini-UAVs that will play a decisive role in breaking through enemy defenses.

Therefore, the Americans are actively looking for effective ways to combat such a threat. Just over a year ago, the US Department of Defense created the Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Office (JCO). The task is to introduce advanced weapons into the army that could be used by ordinary soldiers after just two weeks of training.

“We have developed a special training program,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Hester told reporters. “This is both theoretical classes in the classroom and practical, with the use of the latest weapons in the field. After the course, any soldier – infantryman, sailor, pilot or marine – will receive basic skills to defend against mini-drone attacks. “

Jammers and turrets

JCO experts have already tested and demonstrated several promising systems at the end of last month – the hand-held DroneBuster and DroneKiller. In fact, these are compact jammers that disrupt the communication channel between the drone and the operator. As a result, the drones either hovered in place or returned to the starting point.

Another novelty is the remotely controlled Smash Hopper module for light vehicles. Weighs about 15 kilograms, externally – like a carriage for standard 5.56 mm assault rifles AR-15 or M-4. The automated turret detects small drones, calculates distance, lead and destroys targets in bursts. During the demonstration, Smash Hopper hit several ground and air targets from a distance of more than 300 meters.

There are also more serious calibers. So, the Americans tested the 30-mm LW30 PROX projectile for the M230 and M230LF rapid-fire cannons. Its feature is a radio frequency target proximity sensor, which allows drones to be detonated at a distance. High-explosive fragmentation ammunition weighs about 350 grams. A burst from the rapid-fire cannon creates a dense cloud of debris in front of the UAV.

A rather exotic solution was proposed by the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA): an interceptor drone. It explodes close to the target and throws strong plastic threads in its direction, entangling the drone and blocking its screws. The interceptor is safe for its own troops and can operate directly over them.

Crush with interference

Over the years of the operation in Syria, the Russian military has accumulated extensive experience in combating mini-UAVs: terrorists regularly launch them to the Khmeimim airbase. In most cases, targets are destroyed by Pantsir-S1 and Tor-M2 anti-aircraft missile systems.

Also, dozens of homemade UAVs were neutralized by electronic warfare systems – in this area, Russia is recognized as the world leader. For example, during the Zapad-2021 exercises, mobile EW groups with the Borisoglebsk-1/2, Zhitel and R-934BMV complexes counteracted the drones of the mock enemy. These systems independently detected targets, identified control channels and suppressed them with interference. The drones, having lost navigation and contact with the operator, immediately landed.

In addition, since 2018, exercises for shooting at moving drones from machine guns, machine guns and sniper rifles have been added to the combat training program of the Ground Forces, the Marines and the Airborne Forces. Practice has shown that a well-trained fighter with SVD or ASVK easily hits an air target maneuvering at altitudes up to 300-400 meters from a distance of up to a kilometer.

And to combat vehicles at long distances, the Derivation-Air Defense complex based on the BMP-3 will soon be adopted. His main know-how is a 57 mm high ballistic cannon with a rate of fire of 120 rounds per minute and a range of up to ten kilometers. Unlike the 30-mm Tunguska and Pantsir anti-aircraft guns, Derivations creates a much wider field of debris in the drone’s path. Also, a corrected ammunition with a variable trajectory of flight for a direct hit on the target was developed for it.

Leave a Comment