The Russian military will equip its anti-drone units to physically take down unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Izvestia revealed, citing sources.
The outlet didn’t specify whether the units will add armed drones to its ranks or deploy standalone systems for the purpose.
Current mobile units are only capable of electronically jamming UAVs, the Russian outlet added.
Contract Soldier Units
The Russian military established the units in January to provide non-stop protection to military bases in the southern and eastern military districts.
According to the outlet, the new units will be staffed by contract soldiers and be deployed in the rest of the country. The outlet added that the soldiers have undergone “special training” for the purpose.
The decision to add teeth to the anti-drone units comes amid reports that Ukrainian forces have inflicted significant damage to the Russian military during the ongoing conflict, significantly slowing Russian military advances.
Evolving Role of Drones
Vice president of the Russian research institute Academy of Geopolitical Issues, Colonel Vladimir Anokhin, acknowledges the importance of drones in contemporary warfare, likening their current role to that of anti-tank systems in World War II.
“UAVs can effectively determine the location and condition of troops,” he told Izvestia.
“The presence of formations that counteract them is absolutely necessary. Today, their role has come close to that played by anti-tank units during World War II.”
The addition of lethality to the anti-drone units will increase the options available to unit personnel in countering the threat of unmanned aerial platforms.
The Russian military last year practiced destroying mock drone targets using SVD and SVD-S sniper rifles from a distance of 300-700 meters (984-2,297 feet).
The soldiers used thermal imaging sights and portable laser devices to recon targets and determine their distance. The exercise also included the Krasukha mobile electronic warfare system and the Pantsir-S air defense missile and gun system.
The Krasukha can jam aerial targets within 300 kilometers (186 miles) while the Pantsir fires 30 mm rounds to take down targets.