Russian Military Drones to Use Cellphone Data Traffic to Track Targets

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Russia has developed a new electronic warfare complex which comprises of three Orlan-10 drones and a mobile centre to track potential targets using cell phone signals.

The “Leer-3” system can tap into cell phone base stations, analyze data flow to geographically locate a specific cellphone subscriber by their device’s signal, and then bomb targets, if required. The system can track source signals irrespective of whether or not the phone is turned on, Russian media claim.

The complex consists 3 drones and a control center mounted atop a KamAZ off-road truck. Until recently, these drones were only capable of jamming cell phone base stations by dropping disposable jammers next to them. After base stations were jammed, the drones could act as their substitute, sending SMS messages to subscribers in the area. ​The new system can link to base stations and monitor all incoming and outgoing traffic.

“The drone hardware remotely plugs into the base stations and intercepts their data flow. Base stations allow for the locating of a cell phone with a margin of several meters,” said Denis Kuskov, the CEO of the Telecom Daily analytics company.

Once located, the device’s geographical coordinates are sent to the military tactical network, to which artillery, aviation and other units are also connected, allowing a swift artillery strike based on real-time tracking of the target.

According to reports, the Leer system has been tested this year.