Saturday, December 10, 2022

Hitting With Harpoons! Russia Confirms Using Harpoon Systems To Shoot Down Ukrainian Suicide Drones

According to the latest report by Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency, Russian forces are using Harpoon systems in its ongoing special military operation against Ukraine.

Not to be confused with the Harpoon anti-ship missiles that Ukraine has received from the US, the Harpoon-3 is the latest in Russia’s Harpoon series of anti-drone weapon systems.

“Russian units are successfully using the latest Harpoon-3 hand-held devices to fight unmanned aerial vehicles. An electromagnetic pulse destroys enemy drones,” TASS reported on October 17, citing a source in Russian defense circles.

The source described the anti-drone device as highly effective and easy to operate but did not specify in which areas these anti-drone guns are being used in Ukraine.

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The Harpoon-3 Anti-Drone System (Twitter)

“It will suffice to direct the device’s antenna towards a drone, and the flying craft’s electronics are denied the capability to determine the location, and the drone’s contact with its operator is lost,” the source said, adding that the device’s malfunctions were excluded.

The Harpoon-3 Anti-Drone System

Developed by the Automation and Programming Technologies Company based in St. Petersburg, the Harpoon-3 is an electronic warfare system designed to counter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). It was unveiled at the MAKS-2021 air show in Moscow last year.

Structurally, the system is in the form of an anti-drone gun, which consists of an instrument panel with controls and an antenna device covered with a radio-transparent casing. As per the data from open sources, the system is over one meter long and weighs 6.5 kilograms.

The anti-drone gun can either be used as a hand-held or stationary system. It can be mounted on a special platform with guidance drives in two planes and remote control. This design allows one operator to control several anti-drone guns dispersed over a particular area simultaneously.

The device is trained toward a target visually and within line of sight, after which the trigger is pulled to release an electromagnetic pulse in the direction of the target to disrupt the communication between the drone and its operators.

The device has an operational range of 3.5 kilometers and up to two kilometers in the case of high-frequency interference. The anti-drone gun has a memory that stores information about various UAVs and the data on how to counter them.

The Harpoon-3 is said to have a frequency range between 433 to 5800 MHz for interference or jamming attacks against UAVs.

The system operates in three modes of interference, with the first one at frequencies of 488, 868, or 1200 MHz, suppressing the UAV’s control radio channels. The second mode comprises the frequency range of 1575, 2400, and 5200 MHz for suppressing the satellite navigation signals used by the UAV. The third mode enables or disables the drone’s data link at 433/868 5800 MHz.

The Harpoon-3 has a rechargeable battery that allows continuous operation for 60 minutes.

While there is no official confirmation from Russia of the Harpoon-3 system being used in the Ukraine war, there were unconfirmed reports in May of Russian forces using this anti-drone gun for defense against drones in an unspecified region of Ukraine.

Apart from Harpoon-3, Russian forces are also using the Stupor electromagnetic system, developed by the Main Robotics Research and Test Center of the Russian Defense Ministry.

The Stupor is also an anti-drone gun with a length of 1.16 meters and a weight of 5.5 kilograms. It has an operational range of two kilometers and a 20-degree field of effect.

The device can block the UAV’s photo and video cameras and their navigation and transmission channels in the electro-optical frequency range.

Harpoon-3 Anti-Drone Gun
File Image: Harpoon-3 Anti-Drone Gun

Ukraine, Russia Using Counter-Drone Guns

Ukraine and Russia have employed a large number of military and commercial UAVs in the ongoing conflict. Therefore, both sides have fielded their counter-UAV solutions.

As reported by EurAsian Times earlier, the Ukrainian military has also been using the Lithuanian-made SkyWiper EDM4S (Electronic Drone Mitigation System) counter-drone rifle.

The SkyWiper has been used by the Ukrainian military since 2021, first against the Russian separatist forces in frontline areas of Donbas and currently against the invading Russian Army.

The gun weighs 5.5 kilograms and has an operational range of 3-5 kilometers. It is fitted with four directional antennas, which can be expanded to six.

Two antennas for the 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz frequency bands with a power of 10 W each, one antenna for GPS interference for the 1.5 GHz band with a power of 10 W, while another one to interfere with the GLONASS system for the 1.5 GHz band with a power of 10 W are fitted on the gun.

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