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Russian Radar System Counters Small, ‘Silent’ Combat Drones 

The system system can also distinguish targets from the background environment and false target alerts such as birds.

A radar system capable of detecting small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) flying in “silent mode” is soon to be deployed by the Russian armed forces, a senior officer of the Russian Army told Krasnaya Zvezda, the official newspaper of the country’s ministry of defense.

The decision was reached after the radar system named Valdai completed a range of tests, according to Major General Andrei Goncharov, head of the Russian Ministry of Defense’s Main Directorate of Research Activities and Technological Support of Advanced Technologies.

Can Detect UAVs With ‘Extremely Low’ RCS

The system can detect and track objects with “extremely low radio cross-section (RCS)” and neutralize them, wrote Topwar, another Russian news outlet.

Moreover, the system is also capable of distinguishing targets from the background environment and false target alerts such as birds.

The Lianozovo Electromechanical Plant of the Almaz-Antey Group began developing the system in 2016, wrote Topwar, adding that a prototype was ready by 2018. A year later it was integrated into strategic missile force drills.

As part of exercises, Valdai was tasked to protect missile systems against observation and attack by hovering drones.

Detecting small drones is extremely difficult because of their low RCS (less than 0.05-0.1 square meters), very low speed of up to 30-50 meters/second (98-164 feet/second), and because they fly at high altitude and can hover and maneuver quickly, the Russian news outlet explained.

Uses Five Modules Simultaneously to Neutralize Threat

The outlet further explained that to detect such small UAVs, Valdai’s developers introduced a new approach to detection involving “simultaneous use of several reconnaissance means of various kinds.”

The radar system is mounted on a self-propelled vehicle and divided into five components: a control module with a remote control panel, a radar module, an optoelectronic module, a direction-finding module for radio signal sources, and a countermeasure module.

Valdai’s radar and direction-finding module scan for targets in parallel. 

Radar Detection Range Exceeds 15 Kilometers

Topwar reported that while the radar can detect smaller drones such as the Mavic or Phantom from five or six kilometers (3.1 to 3.7 miles) away, larger drones can be detected from 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) away or farther.

Alternately, the direction-finding module scans for UAV control and communication channels through radio signals to determine the location of the UAV and its operator.

Once the target is detected, Valdai’s countermeasure module jams the UAV by suppressing its control and navigation signals.

A civilian version of the UAV is also being proposed to ward off birds from sensitive areas such as airfields.

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