In a First, Attack Drones Brought Down Using Smoke Screen, EW During Russian Exercise

In a First, Attack Drones Brought Down Using Smoke Screen, EW During Russian Exercise

Russian air defense artillery units brought down attack and reconnaissance drones using a smoke screen, electronic warfare equipment and radio intelligence.

This is the first time that a combination of firepower and counter-measures was demonstrated during an exercise held in Chelyabinsk region of the Central Military District, Russian MoD announced Friday.

Tachyon and Orlan 10 drones were used as target drones operating at “extremely low” altitudes. Their coordinates were transferred to the crews of the Tor-M1 and Pantsir-S anti-aircraft systems, which destroyed targets at altitudes from 350-3000m at a distance of up to 12km.

The exercise involved crews of Tor-М1 and Pantsir-S systems; Pole 21, Zhitel and Svet-KU EW suppression stations; crews of the TDA-3 thermo-smoke machines, Podlet-K1 and Niobium radar stations; over 500 servicemen and about 50 units of military equipment, the MoD said.

In August 2016, the Russian military used smoke screening devices to make the Northern Fleet’s naval base “disappear.” Citing the government-owned Rossiya-24, Vesti reported that an aerosol cloud masked the port and all the warships stationed there (approximately 1km-radius) for nearly 14 hours. The obscurant smoke reportedly contains chemical compounds that “can degrade electro-optical devices in the visual and infrared wavebands.”

The most common obscurant generators vaporize low viscosity petroleum distillates to produce a stable petroleum smoke cloud of extremely small diameter droplets that scatter light rays. Modern obscurants such as synthetic graphite flakes can screen electromagnetic tracking and targeting systems, and frustrate sensors in the near-, mid- and far-infrared bands, according to information provided by Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Many obscurants are “navalized” for use at sea. They are suited to a variety of naval missions, for example, defeating anti-ship cruise missiles that depend on terminal radar or infrared-homing seekers, and defeating imagery satellites (which follow predictable orbits) when they pass over a ship formation.

Smoke agents are used to conceal the maneuver of men and weapons between strong points, defensive areas, and separate buildings not having concealed or underground routes between them and also to prevent the enemy from observing and conducting aimed fire.

The United States deploys several systems, including the M56/M56E Smoke Generator Set (SGS) [NATO reporting name: Coyote], the M58 Mechanized Smoke Obscurant System [NATO reporting name: Wolf], the M157/M157A2 SGS [NATO reporting name: Lynx], and the M1059/M1059A3 Smoke Generator Carrier (SGC).