The conflict in Ukraine has seen a pivotal shift in warfare tactics, with electronic warfare (EW) playing a central role on the battlefield.
Amidst this dynamic landscape, Ukraine is actively engaged in trials to assess drones’ resilience against EW interference, marking a significant stride in modern warfare technology.
Drone Trials and Manufacturer Developments
Six private companies have been involved in these trials, aiming to evaluate the drones’ capacity to withstand EW interference.
A breakthrough emerged as Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense disclosed promising results from one manufacturer’s kamikaze drone.
Its exceptional technical prowess has prompted the manufacturer to signal readiness for ramping up production, signifying a pivotal advancement in Ukrainian defense technology.
2,000+ Ukraine-made drones from the state are handed over to logistics forces. The batch included "birds" exclusively of Ukrainian production. Among them are copters and aircraft-type UAVs: reconnaissance, kamikaze, reusable bombers. Keep supplying the Defense Forces. pic.twitter.com/Pv52YxjhYJ
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) November 18, 2023
The recent evaluations specifically targeted first-person view (FPV) drones engineered to endure assessments amidst complex electronic warfare radiation.
These tests rigorously examined the drones’ resistance to signal suppression in video communication and control channels.
“The purpose of these tests was to test the operation of drones under the influence of radiation from an electronic warfare (EW) complex, and separately, we tested the resistance of UAVs to suppression of video communication signal and drone control channel,” the Ministry of Defense said via Telegram channel on Saturday, cited by Interfax Ukraine.
Of note, one manufacturer showcased a serially developed kamikaze drone, demonstrating stability in video communication and control functions under EW system confrontations.
Kamikaze Drone’s Technical Capabilities
The showcased kamikaze drone possesses impressive combat capabilities, capable of executing missions up to ten kilometers away.
Its success lies in the amalgamation of technologies derived from existing knowledge and successful experiences with prior products.
During tests, this unmanned platform exhibited stability in the face of electronic warfare radiation, a crucial attribute for combat operations.
⚡️🇺🇦Ukrainian military from the 103rd separate Territorial Defense Brigade destroyed a 🇷🇺Russian tank using an FPV kamikaze drone pic.twitter.com/U3UiVp7hXp
— 🇺🇦Ukrainian Front (@front_ukrainian) December 2, 2023
The Ministry of Defense expressed optimism about its performance in combat conditions, pending successful further tests and operational approval.
A representative from the manufacturing company highlighted that the project, which commenced about a year ago, has now reached a demonstrable level.
“This drone is capable of performing combat missions at a distance of up to ten kilometers,” it said, describing how technologies used to develop “this model are not some kind of innovative or unique.”
“They are a hodgepodge of our knowledge, a successful combination of experience from previous products,” it added.
Importance of Drones in Ukrainian Warfare
The necessity for such resilient drones stems from the pivotal role of EW in the ongoing conflict.
EW techniques, employed by both sides, disrupt GPS-guided targeting systems, causing rockets and drones to veer off course and miss their intended targets.
However, a significant discrepancy exists between Kyiv and Moscow concerning EW capabilities.
General Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s armed forces commander-in-chief, acknowledged Moscow’s advantage in this domain, as reported by The Economist.
Ukraine initially relied on Soviet-era EW systems, which had limited impact as the conflict evolved.
Russia strategically positioned its formidable EW assets to maximize their effectiveness, impacting Ukraine’s arsenal, including Excalibur GPS-guided shells, Joint Direct Attack Munition – Extended Range (JDAM-ER)-guided bombs, and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS)-launched Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) long-range rockets.
Technologies change the course of the war and push the development of Ukrainian defense tech. @BRAVE1ua made a fast track for defense developments possible. Future of warfare is creating by Ukrainians; take a look at innovations in a video by @United24media. pic.twitter.com/w2NDe5CfLt
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) November 24, 2023
Ukrainian Ministry of Defense’s Initiative
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense actively seeks drones capable of functioning resiliently against complex EW radiation, aligning with broader initiatives to counter sophisticated EW tactics employed by opposing forces.
These efforts hold significant implications for Ukraine’s ongoing counter-offensive strategies.
A drone operator commander stressed the critical importance of neutralizing Russian EW systems for substantial progress in liberating additional territory.
According to state-owned news agency TASS, this initiative aims to bolster Ukraine’s capabilities against Moscow’s escalation in the electronic warfare system’s production.
Strategic Implications and Future Progress
The successful selection and deployment of drones resilient to EW interference could substantially impact Ukraine’s conflict resolution efforts.
It presents an opportunity to mitigate the impact of Russian EW tactics, crucial for Ukraine’s military strategies and territorial gains.
Dozens of Russian tanks and armored vehicles are demilitarized by 🇺🇦 strike drone units. Last week alone: 149 pieces of hardware, including 36 tanks, 37 armored vehicles, 20 artillery, many other "junk" that will not be able to fight anymore. Army of Drones is on duty. pic.twitter.com/Mf0J5jpdrR
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) November 27, 2023
Moscow’s escalation in the production of electronic warfare systems highlights the urgency for Ukraine to bolster its defenses against sophisticated EW tactics.
The ongoing trials signify a step towards equipping Ukrainian forces with the necessary technology to navigate and counteract electronic warfare challenges.
What Happens Now?
The ongoing trials evaluating drones’ resilience against electronic warfare mark a pivotal advancement in Ukraine’s defense technology.
The significance of deploying drones capable of withstanding EW interference is paramount in the conflict landscape, where electronic warfare tactics heavily influence the effectiveness of military operations.
As Ukraine actively pursues technological advancements to counter Russian EW capabilities, the successful deployment of these resilient drones could play a decisive role in reshaping the conflict dynamics and enhancing Ukraine’s military strategies in the ongoing conflict.