In recent years, the number of military drones in various countries in the world has increased, their functions have been continuously improved, and their combat applications have become more and more active. Correspondingly, the development and installation of anti-drone equipment has also started a “blowout” development model, and a large amount of investment has been put into actual combat.
Among them, Russia has made remarkable achievements in the research and development of anti-drone equipment. A variety of anti-drone equipment and systems have been installed in troops, and they have performed well in actual combat, which has attracted the attention of many parties. The Russian military uses a variety of means to counter enemy drones in current special operations and actively uses them. Among them, considering the operational needs and the diversity of missions, individual soldiers carrying anti-drone guns have become the research and development focus of Russian designers, and various types of anti-drone guns are very common.
A REX-1 electronic gun aimed at light drones was first demonstrated at the Russian Defense Exhibition in 2017 and was used by the Russian Federation Airborne Forces during the large-scale military exercise “Orient 2018” held in September 2018. The anti-drone gun can emit 900Mhz, 2.4GHz, 5.2–5.8GHz interference radio waves to the target drone, so that the drone can be forced to land. With its own power, the REX-1 anti-drone gun can “shoot” continuously for four hours, and the REX-1 can also be connected to an external power supply for uninterrupted use.
In 2019, REX-2, a new generation product of the REX series, was exhibited at the U.S. Army Exhibition. It has the same characteristics as the previous generation. Interfere with electromagnetic waves, thereby interfering with the command and control of drones. Each jamming device is controlled separately by two switches on the rear of the top of the weapon and is controlled by the trigger as the master switch. For easy aiming, there is a bridge-type Picatinny rail on the top of the weapon for mounting aiming devices. And it was lighter, smaller, easier to carry and use, and it was the smallest anti-drone weapon in the world at the time.
Recently, Russia launched a series of anti-drone products called “Harpy”, and one of the anti-drone guns was demonstrated and tested on the Russian-Ukrainian battlefield. In the demonstration, the anti-aircraft gun successfully shot down a commercial drone.
“The Banshee” Appears
Due to the threat of Ukrainian drones, the Russian military has been strengthening relevant protection measures in recent months. A large number of drone countermeasures have been purchased and delivered to combat troops. Recently, in various reports and returns from the battlefield, the “Banshee” drone countermeasure gun appeared together with other products and made its grand finale.
In early January, volunteers from the city of Kurgan purchased the Banshee through donations and sent the product to the Cossack battalion. The “Banshee” was tried out by the Russian military and released a short video showing it intercepting a light commercial drone.
On March 7, the RIA Novosti news agency released a similar but longer and more detailed video showing the process of combating drones. According to reports, the video was shot in the Donetsk region. The “Banshee” anti-aircraft gun is likely to be the combat equipment of the troops in the region. The video also outlines its capabilities and explains its key features.
In the Banshee display, a DJI Mavik Pro helicopter-style drone, a commercial drone most commonly used in combat zones, maneuvers and hovers. After a few seconds under the influence of the Banshee, it lost contact with the remote controller and was forced to land. Although, aiming and keeping a target in sight becomes more complicated as the distance increases, similar tests at longer ranges end with the same result.
In addition, the “Banshee” can deceive the drone and guide it to land in an unknown location, so that it can be collected and reprogrammed by the user, and then used in its own air formation.
“Banshee” UAV countermeasure series
The Harpy UAV countermeasures range includes various types of radio jamming and countermeasure equipment. These devices can be divided into fixed and portable types according to the way they are carried; they can also be divided into types such as interfering with drone control radio signals and obstructing video signals and telemetry transmissions according to their capabilities. These different types of products are produced both in Russia and China.
Appearing in the RIA Novosti video is a portable device called “Harpy Pro 120W”. It has an appearance between a rifle and a pistol. The overall length of the gun body is 680 mm, and the fully assembled weight is 4.3 kg. At the same time, with the box equipped with “Banshee”, and a pair of batteries and chargers, the total weight is only 11 kg.
Although “Harpya Pro 120W” is one of the simplest and cheapest devices in the series, it still has enough performance to solve various given tasks. At the front of the fuselage, there are antennas located under a radio-transparent casing. The remainder houses the auxiliary electronics. The optical sight is installed on the top of the fuselage, while the bottom is equipped with a pistol-style control handle. A replaceable battery is installed at the rear of the fuselage, providing up to 1 hour of working time. It allows users to effectively engage drones within a range of 1.5-2 kilometers with a direct line of sight and visible targets.
When “Harpya Pro 120W” is working, it can generate interference in six preset frequency bands through the selection of the side button on the shell, including: 433 or 900 MHz, and Wi-Fi2.4G or 5.8G standard communication and Control frequencies, and on the three main GPS navigation bands. This ensures effective interference and countermeasures against different types of UAVs.
The gun is also equipped with a panel antenna. The antenna is oriented at 45 degrees, with a gain of 8dBi and a power consumption of up to 240 watts, and a power output of 125 watts, thus ensuring that the “Harpya Pro 120W” UAV counter-gun can effectively affect radio channels within 2 kilometers and fully suppress Communication, control and navigation channels to force disconnected drones to land or return to their point of origin. And by destroying the drone’s navigation, the drone that is forced to return may deviate from the take-off position, further disrupting the deployment of enemy drones.
Other Russian drone countermeasures that appeared in the Russian-Ukrainian battlefield
It is worth noting that the “Harpya Pro 120W” drone countermeasure gun was not the only drone countermeasure device used in the Russo-Ukrainian war. In the entire Russian-Ukrainian battlefield, similar equipment developed by other Russia has also been widely used, and news about the use of drone countermeasure equipment often appears. And the portable “drone anti-drone gun” has received the focus of reports.
In the Russo-Ukrainian war in the past year, almost all Russian equipment in the field of UAV countermeasures was mentioned. In particular, different types of UAV countermeasure equipment such as “Stupor” (Stupor) and LPD-800/801 assembled by the Russian military.
The latest “sluggish” anti-drone electromagnetic gun, designed by the Russian Ministry of Defense’s main robotics research and testing center, was first used during the Ukraine war to counter unmanned aerial vehicles, including helicopters, in direct sight. The gun fires a separate electromagnetic pulse to suppress the passage used to operate the drone. Eventually, the drone lost contact with its operator, forcing it to fly uncontrolled and crash. The “Sluggish” anti-drone electromagnetic gun has an effective range of 2 kilometers and covers a 20-degree sector. Outside the sector, UAV countermeasures can be completed through full-scale battlefield interference equipment.
All existing or offered countermeasures have almost the same features and capabilities and are designed to solve common tasks. But they can hinder drone navigation, control and specific actions by inhibiting different channels, thereby forcing drones to be unable to conduct reconnaissance or carry out fire strikes.
The Russian company PPSh Laboratories will launch LPD-801 in 2021. The anti-drone anti-drone gun will interfere with the control channel and navigation signal of the UAV, especially disable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, Galileo and Glonass satellite system signals, and cancel the data transmission that is not authorized by the device, so that the drone The man-machine lost control and forced to land or return.
Russian anti-drone anti-drone gun effectively counters drone threats
Although the Ukrainian armed forces rely on NATO assistance, they have a considerable number and variety of unmanned aerial systems. But the bulk of it consists of commodity light drones that are widely sold today. In addition, some UAVs are assembled and transformed based on popular civilian components, and even some UAVs transformed from old fighters, such as the Tu-141 unmanned reconnaissance aircraft in the Soviet era. Therefore, such drones generally do not have very effective and powerful radio communication protection measures, and are vulnerable to electronic countermeasure systems such as counter-guns. Therefore, the Russian army has a lot of opportunities to test and demonstrate the performance of its countermeasure equipment many times under different conditions.
The war potential of various types of UAVs has long been known and fully proven in practice. Therefore, it is urgent for all countries in the world to create and adopt various means to counter such threats. Russia currently has a number of Russian-made drone countermeasure guns with different characteristics and functions on the market. This gives the Russian military and other customers the opportunity to purchase products that best meet the intended mission. At the same time, countermeasure equipment is manufactured by multiple companies, or even transnationally produced, which reduces risks to a certain extent and speeds up product supply. Therefore, the “Banshee”, together with other similar Russian UAV anti-drone guns, effectively solved the problem of anti-drone on the Russian battlefield and helped Russia achieve greater military goals. (Zheng Donghai)Return to Sohu to see more