A video of Russia’s frontline troops downing a commercially available Chinese drone used by Ukrainian forces using a ‘drone jammer’ gun is doing rounds on social media. While the gun cannot be clearly seen, it appears in flashes in the chaotic video and comes into focus at the end.
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The video bares the effectiveness of electromagnetic/radio frequency/signal jamming and non-kinetic counter-drone systems and the proliferation of Chinese recreational drones from leading firm DJI.
Interestingly, even Russian forces use small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from the Chinese company for essential battlefield surveillance and reconnaissance purposes. The anti-drone gun, meanwhile, is the PARS ‘Stupor’ that began reaching Russian units in early July.
Jubilant Russian Soldiers
The four-rotor/quadcopter drone in the video is revealed to be a DJI product, based on the logo that comes into view as the group of soldiers are examining it closely after retrieving it.
The video showed a Russian soldier running several hundred meters into a field while being egged on loudly and given instructions by other unit members. There seem to be five to eight soldiers in the nearly two-minute clip, including the one holding the camera.
One of the soldiers, who is not in the frame, exclaims jubilant exclamations and instructions, indicating the soldier retrieving the drone managed to get hold of it.
This means the drone must have been brought down several minutes before the video began recording. The soldiers open the middle hollowed-out hold of the drone meant for carrying miniature and small cargo, giving rise to the possibility that it must have been used for dropping grenades.
Some comments on Telegram channels claimed these were Ukrainian soldiers bringing down a Russian drone. But the distinct design of the Stupor gun disproves that since Ukraine’s Lithuanian-made EDM4S-UA tactical drone jammer guns have a visibly different front end.
The Gun & The Drone
The DJI Mavic series has a low-quality telephoto lens, which allows for surveillance of targets from beyond earshot, and a more crisp wide-angle lens. The quadcopter is powerful enough to carry and drop single grenades fitted with impact fuses.
With the widespread use of its drones, DJI in April condemned its military application and stopped its sales in both Russia and Ukraine. This followed Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov’s open letter to DJI CEO Frank Wang in March.
However, it was still possible to procure the drone from neighboring countries through imports or direct purchases from retailers and electronic stores.
Russia, too, used DJI drones in large numbers, which former Russian Chief of General Staff, General Yuri Baluyevsky, praised in a book for “revolutionizing” warfare by improving artillery fire correction.
EurAsian Times had reported journalist Julian Röpcke tweeting an image of Chinese-origin DJI drones months after the drone manufacturer notified that the drones were not being sold to Russia anymore.
The Russian army is heavily relying on @DJIGlobal drones to continue its attack on Ukraine.
Each of the Chinese drones costs 12,000 Euro. pic.twitter.com/wUuJo6f2eq
— Julian Röpcke🇺🇦 (@JulianRoepcke) October 31, 2022
Meanwhile, the Russian ‘drone jammer’ gun is the Stupor, which severs the radio connection between the drone and its remote operator. It can also jam satellite navigation signals from the American GPS, Chinese BeiDou, European Galileo, and Russian GLONASS within a radius of two to five kilometers.
It can also block GSM, 3G, and LTE mobile network signals at a distance of up to a kilometer and generate interference at frequencies of 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, and 5.2-5.8 GHz.
However, the Stupor seen in the video appears to be an older model compared to the newer variants, with a sleeker design and finer finishing featured in the latest reports. In October, EurAsian Times also reported Russia introducing another hand-held anti-drone Harpoon-3 system. It, too, works on a similar principle of interfering and jamming the drone’s radio control channels.
Newly Mobilized Recruits Learn How To Use DJI Drones
Interestingly, Russia used DJI drones, which appeared in a video released by its Ministry of Defence (MoD) that featured the intensive training of its newly mobilized soldiers who are taught to use drones.
The video shows the recruits in a field shooting range and then being introduced to the DJI drone by their instructor.
Here too, DJI’s logo is visible on the drone’s controller/console while it is being operated by one of the recruits. The Russian MoD statement said that the soldiers are learning “new military specialties…in addition to small arms and firearms training with elements of tactical shooting.”
“The mobilized servicemen learn piloting techniques and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in conditions as close to combat as possible. UAV operators practice using drones for artillery, tank, and assault units.
The crews’ task is to conduct surveillance, determine and transmit the coordinates of the enemy for fire and sabotage operations,” the MoD press release said.
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