The Russian Marine Corps has added anti-drone units to its ranks to combat the threat posed by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) on land and sea, Izvestia reported.
The need to have such units has been felt particularly during anti-terrorist operations abroad where adversaries possess drone capability, the Moscow-based outlet explained.
The paper further revealed, citing sources, that the newly-formed units held a series of exercises in the Caspian Sea this month where “portable radars” were used to detect the UAVs.
During exercises, the units suppressed drone communication channels and satellite navigation with electronic warfare equipment. Most of the UAVs crashed or made emergency landings and snipers gunned down the few that survived.
Threat Posed by Cheap Commercial Drones
The formation of these units began after analyzing the combat experience of Russian troops in Syria, where adversaries have regularly used UAVs against them.
In the Middle East, terrorists have increasingly used commercially available multicopters against professional soldiers, the outlet wrote.
The cheaply available UAVs are modified into armed drones by attaching “hand grenades, submunitions from rockets of multiple launch rocket launchers and mortar mines,” the outlet stated.
Moreover, the “real-time” video that the drones provide is used by extremists to “adjust mortar fire, and even to target suicide bombers in mined vehicles.”
Combatting ‘Tactical-Level’ UAVs
“The experience of recent conflicts shows a significant increase in threats from drones, including small ones,” military expert Viktor Murakhovsky told Izvestia.
Murakhovsky added that the units have been formed to combat “tactical-level” UAVs flying at low altitude. And for large and medium-sized ones, he said, “we have anti-aircraft missile systems.”
The Marines provide security at the Russian naval base of Tartus and the Khmeimim airbase in Syria, which have been attacked dozens of times with “hand-made drone bombers,” which have damaged government facilities.
ISIS terrorists in Syria and Iraq have also successfully attacked and destroyed “ammunition depots and light armored vehicles of government forces” through the use of armed drones.