The Ukrainian armed forces appear to be using a futuristic anti-drone rifle provided by Lithuania that can emit electromagnetic waves at drones to bring them down.
The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has seen some of the best weapons deployed on both sides, particularly from Ukraine which has received weapons from its international partners like the United States, Turkey, the UK, Lithuania and Poland, among others.
Of these, the Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2s have risen to an unprecedented level of prominence as they have now become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance against Russian forces.
The world has witnessed Ukraine’s impressive deployment of its drone fleet against Russian armed forces managing to hold contested Ukrainian airspace for more than a month since the start of the war.
Meanwhile, Ukraine also has some of the latest cutting-edge counter-drone technology, such as the SkyWiper (EDM4S) Electronic Drone Mitigation System anti-drone rifles produced by a Lithuanian company known as NT Service.
A photo is circulating on social media showing the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Valeriy Zaluzhnyi with Lithuanian EDM4S anti-drone rifles.
These weapons are designed to neutralize small and medium-sized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and are capable of identifying and actively disrupting UAV guidance, tracking and navigation systems.
The small size of drones and their ability to move quickly make it very difficult for kinetic weapons such as nets, bullets, and missiles to detect, target, and attack them. , as in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War and the Libyan Civil War
In line with the trend of increasing drone threats, the Ukrainian military decided to order portable electronic warfare systems to counter drones.
The contract with NT Service was sign in 2020 through the NATO Support and Supply Agency for the supply of 37 SkyWiper EDM4S systems. Under the terms of the agreement, the manufacturer must customize the system to meet the requirements of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The version of the system sold to Ukraine is designated as EDM4S-UA.
According to media reports, the Ukrainian military started deploying the SkyWiper guns in 2021 against Russian separatist forces in the frontline areas of Donbass.
The operator is supposed to point the EDM4S jammer towards a drone and then press the trigger following which an electro-magnetic pulse will be sent in the direction of the drone which will disrupt the communication between the drone and its operators.
All system modules are mounted on a sturdy lightweight aluminum frame that resembles the appearance of a rifle.
The gun is equipped with 4 directional antennas expandable to 6 antennas. Two antennas for the 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz frequency bands with a power of 10 W each, and an antenna for GPS interference for the 1.5 GHz band with a power of 10 W, while another to interfere with the GLONASS system for the 1.5 GHz band with a power of 10 W. A system adapted to work with other frequencies can be supplied on request.
The SkyWiper jammer is intended for single operator use. It weighs 5.5 kg and has a range of 3 to 5 km.
According to NT Service claims, the EDM4S jammer uses a surveillance system connected to overhead sensors that alert the on-duty operator to the drone’s intrusion and location.
Most Russian military drones fall into small and medium-sized categories, including the Granat 1, Granat 2, Eleron-3, Zala, Orlan-10, Takhion, and Zastava models. These are small enough to disappear once they reach a typical operating altitude of a mile to a mile and a half.
Therefore, the EDM4S jamming system designed to engage small and medium-sized drones should be appropriate to counter the Russian drone threat.
However, so far there is no documented evidence of EDM4S jammers or any other electronic measure having downed a Russian drone in the ongoing war in Ukraine.
According to Samuel Bendett, a researcher at the Center for a New American Security, the Russian standard concept of operations involves the use of UAVs as airborne “eyes and ears”: observing surrounding territory, relaying data between commanders and deployed forces, and identifying and tracking targets that can then be destroyed by anything from an infantry fire squad to a tank to an artillery brigade to a warship.
However, early Russian military assaults in Ukraine lacked the kind of situational awareness these drones are meant to provide, BennettdefensI noted.
He suggests that one of the reasons behind this could be Ukrainian air defenses and “electronic warfare networks” which could interfere with Russian efforts to use its drones.
Startstreak hitting the Orion combat drone that was shot down two days ago over Kherson. I have to say that British defense equipment made a difference in this war and Boris’ visit to Ukraine is certainly a positive thing that I can associate with it. 🇬🇧 https://t.co/brln7zSmu1 pic.twitter.com/PWKEBhdkJK
—ST (@aviation07101) April 10, 2022
Recently, Ukrainian forces reportedly shot down Russia’s newest medium-altitude long-range (MALE) tactical UAV system Orion using the British-made Starstreak missile, the latest in a series of Russian drones shot down by Ukrainian forces. .
While the photographic evidence available to date suggests that Russia also managed to shoot down three of the Ukrainian Bayraktar TB2s.