The conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh and Yemen have shown that the presence of modern anti-aircraft weapons by the defending side does not guarantee reliable protection against drone raids. No wonder that defense techniques against unmanned aerial vehicle attacks will be improved. In what direction.
Fight against drones and their swarms – based on the news about the patent of Russian military scientists about a large quadric with a grid and cannons for directed fragmentation projectiles.
- To combat drones, special air-to-air missiles should appear
- Umbrella protection by drones is unlikely to be effective – a swarm can be taught to deal with such protection.
- Probably, combined defense systems based on a single information space and several defense echelons will be resistant to drone attacks – everything else can be destroyed.
The Military University of the Ministry of Defense of Russia has proposed a new way to combat the “swarm” of small drones. The idea in the patent is to defeat the “swarm” of small-size drones with a field of debris fired from a quadcopter that defends the target. The plane is equipped with a control unit, a multi-barrel combat module, which at “moment x” gives a simultaneous salvo, thus creating a field of debris. The fight against drones to organize the protection of facilities, VIPs and the armed forces is becoming an increasingly important problem.
Countering an attack by large unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is certainly an area of interest for the Air Defense Forces. A drone attack detected by conventional radars can be repelled by traditional anti-aircraft missile systems and anti-aircraft artillery. Radars can detect large attack or reconnaissance drones at a sufficiently large distance. Therefore, they can be shot down at distances of up to several dozen kilometers.
What can be done with small drones, considering that their “swarms” may soon enter the war scene? The “swarm” of drones is controlled by “artificial intelligence” (AI) and can perform complex, coordinated actions that are difficult to recognize for traditional defense systems. The “swarm” can perform surveillance and reconnaissance, attack with single drones or the whole “crowd” from the most unsecured directions. You can protect yourself from such an invasion only by placing a kind of “umbrella” over the object.
Such an “umbrella” could be the use of electronic warfare (WRE) systems. Currently, there are many complexes that allow interference to be directed to the radio control of such drones, and even to stop satellite navigation systems in a separate area. Among them are commercially available. tools for protection against drones by Zala and Kaspersky Antidrone, as well as military systems of the “Resident” or “Pole-21” type.
Of course, progress does not stand still, and such defenses will be combated – drones will gain more autonomy and will be able to operate without radio communication. Perhaps there will be drones that, in an emergency, will exchange information not via radio, but, for example, using light or laser information channels. Perhaps drones will master new frequency ranges or use communication systems more resistant to interference – this competition between defense and attack will be eternal.
Where the “swarm” of drones cannot be stopped using radio-electronic warfare, it will have to be destroyed. Here it is logical to use a direct attack. The method proposed by Russian scientists uses a fragmentation attack – it is a traditional method for P-73 air-to-air missiles , P-60m, P-77, which destroy their targets with a directed “debris cloud”. You can hit the group’s air target in the same way. Of course, to guarantee the defeat of the “swarm”, it is necessary to create a high-density cloud of debris. I think it is possible with the use of multi-shot or rapid-fire launchers with special grenades.
Of course, it is also possible to use a kind of air kamikaze for this purpose – helicopterswith four rotors (quadcopter). The platform for placing such defense systems can be any – a tank, an armored personnel carrier, a ship, a drone.
Laser air defense systems can be a more technologically advanced, but also more expensive way to fight the “swarms” of drones. With the development of laser technology and the advent of precise and fast laser positioning systems, it is possible to detect drones and “fire” them with a special laser gun. Such systems will appear in the equipment of the ships of the world’s leading fleets in the coming years – they have already been announced and are undergoing tests. Why the ships anyway? Such systems require a lot of electricity, and so far they are quite impressive in size – there is no shortage of energy on the vessels and there are no problems with placing a complex of weapons weighing several tons. But of course, gradually such systems will “come from sea to land.”
The MOD has awarded three contracts worth around £72.5-million to UK industry to produce advanced laser and radio frequency demonstrators as part of the Novel Weapons Programme (NWP).
Known collectively as Directed Energy Weapons (DEW), these next-generation technologies could revolutionise the battlefield and reduce the risk of collateral damage. The systems are powered by electricity and operate without ammunition, significantly reducing operating costs, increasing platform endurance and providing unprecedented offensive and defensive flexibility to personnel on the frontline.
Awarded to consortia headed by Thales and Raytheon UK, the four-year contracts will create at least 49 new jobs and sustain 249 jobs.
The first laser will undergo user testing onboard a Royal Navy Type 23 frigate by detecting, tracking, engaging and countering Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), whilst the British Army’s Wolfhound armoured vehicle will host a laser demonstrator that will investigate capability against UAV and other air threats. The radio frequency demonstrator will also be used by the British Army, hosted on a MAN SV truck to detect and track a variety of air, land and sea targets. This will create around 30 new jobs at Thales in Belfast, Northern Ireland.