Espreso. Global

FPV drones will be weapon of future to protect personnel. Column by Serhiy Zgurets

23 January, 2024 Tuesday

Ukrainian units are being actively supplied with electronic warfare equipment, as Russia is also developing the FPV drone sector and can effectively use them. That is why electronic warfare equipment in coordination with FPV drones should protect the Ukrainian military for the effective performance of combat missions

Ukraine’s new domestic electronic warfare system Pokrova

To counter enemy attack means, Ukraine is beginning to apply new developments in the field of electronic warfare. A number of news agencies cited a representative of the Main Directorate of Electronic and Cyber Warfare of the Ukrainian General Staff as saying that the new domestic electronic warfare system Pokrova is being developed. According to Andriy Starykov, an officer with the General Staff, the Pokrova electronic warfare system prevents cruise missiles and Shahed drones from reaching the target. This reduces the effectiveness of Russian attacks. The technical characteristics of Pokrova are not publicly available. However, our military is beginning to mention it more and more often.

In fact, the deployment of the nationwide electronic warfare system Pokrova was mentioned by the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, in a well-known article in the Economist. Representatives of the Main Directorate of Electronic and Cyber Warfare of the General Staff said that the main task of the Pokrova system is to suppress satellite navigation signals along the entire line of contact and on the larger territory of Ukraine, as well as to replace the satellite radio navigation signal at the right time. This means that we can say that the Shahed unmanned systems will be significantly affected by the constant operation of the Pokrova electronic warfare system.

According to military estimates, at a distance of 100 km. Shahed deviates from the target by almost 5 km. This electronic warfare system should also help reduce the accuracy of cruise missiles, but not as effectively as in the case of drones. Cruise missiles use a combination of different guidance systems. In general, this news about the Pokrova electronic warfare system is positive, although I think there are still many technical and technological nuances that need to be addressed and finalized.

The war of technologies: EW and FPV drones are becoming the most important means of conducting effective combat operations

Mykola Volokhov, commander of the Terra aerial reconnaissance unit of the 3rd separate assault brigade, said that the brigade is constantly modernizing with modern technological weapons. In particular, nighttime FPV drones, drones for dropping ammunition, and ground robotic systems. He also said that the units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces are being actively equipped with electronic warfare and reconnaissance equipment. Russia is also developing FPV drones. According to Volokhov, it can also effectively use FPV drones. That is why electronic warfare equipment must ensure the safety of the Ukrainian military for the effective performance of combat missions. Volokhov said that the 3rd separate assault brigade has already formed a UAV battalion. Previously, there were two companies. Accordingly, the brigade will have more reconnaissance and strike capabilities.

Mykola Volokhov also spoke about the formation of an RnD center where people are searching for and developing technologies to improve the brigade's effectiveness on the battlefield. However, according to him, there is no established system yet. They are still at the stage of developing and forming methodological materials that actually describe the direct work of soldiers on the battlefield. Communication between units on the battlefield is horizontal, and everyone knows about the effectiveness of a particular unit. Volokhov emphasized that the fighters are trying to share their experience in the RnD Center.

Mykola Volokhov spoke about the formation of new units and battalions. According to him, standard platoons are often multiplied. The command and the military themselves realize that FPV drones will be the weapon of the future, which will help to protect the personnel. For example, Volokhov emphasized, there have been no losses in the Terra aerial reconnaissance unit in the Bakhmut direction over the two years of combat operations. In addition, the Ukrainian Defense Forces are very effective in eliminating the invading forces with the help of FPV drones. That is why the UAV battalion of the 3rd separate assault brigade will only expand, and recruitment to separate platoons of mechanized and drill battalions is underway.

FPV drones (photo: Mykhailo Fedorov/Telegram)

It is impossible to use unmanned vehicles effectively without coordination of electronic warfare. Volokhov emphasized this. That is why, according to him, the entire front line is being saturated with electronic warfare equipment. Today, there is a coordination body at the brigade level that provides everything necessary for the effective performance of combat missions. In particular, electronic warfare, coordination with artillery and joint fire support.

Production of mortars and ammunition in Ukraine

Illya Sikan, head of the external cooperation and procurement department at Ukrainian Armor LLC, said that the state constantly places orders for the production of mortars for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. However, the company faced the problem of localizing production. Today, the company is restoring and increasing production capacity. Thus, the company is trying to supply the Ukrainian Armed Forces with weapons and ammunition as soon as possible. According to Sikan, the greatest demand today is for 120-mm mortars. At the same time, there are several orders for 80-mm and 60-mm caliber mortars. All the mortars of different calibers that the company can produce are currently ordered. Sikan also said that although 120-mm mortars are the most popular among orders, they are difficult to manufacture and have many complex parts and assemblies.

Ukrainian-made 120-mm mortar (photo: ukrarmor)

Illya Sikan also said that a number of enterprises are involved in producing products in Ukraine, which help the company manufacture mortars. In particular, these companies manufacture components for mortars. As for optical devices, they are supplied by foreign companies.

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