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Ukrainian Drones Take Out Russian Radio-Jammers Designed to Stop Drones in 'Continual Game of Cat and Mouse'

Russia Intercepts British 'Banshee' Kamikaze Drone, Gets Tech Secrets
Source: Unsplash

Russia claims to have intercepted this British-made Banshee kamikaze jet drone.

Jan. 26 2024, Published 11:02 a.m. ET

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Russian forces operating in Ukraine have been utilizing Silok radio-jammers to disrupt the radio communication links between Ukrainian drones and their operators.

The effectiveness of this strategy is now under scrutiny, however, since Ukrainian forces employed drones to target and disable the Silok systems.

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In a recent incident, a Ukrainian Aerobomber unit utilized a Mavic quadcopter to launch grenades, effectively obliterating a tripod-mounted Silok.

Footage shared on social media captured the Ukrainian Aerobomber unit approaching the radar-jamming device, hovering for inspection and then deploying incendiary ordnance on the electronic warfare device.

The Silok is designed to automatically detect and jam drones' radio links within a range of up to 2.5 miles. It can be mounted on a tripod for static defense or transported on a truck.

Introduced to frontline forces in 2018, the Silok participated in a war game held in Orenburg Oblast, western Russia, during the same year. Despite claims by the Kremlin that the Silok successfully repelled a mock assault drone swarm during the exercise, Ukraine reportedly captured one of these devices in 2022, gaining insight into its inner workings.

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Forbes reports that Silok's performance in Ukraine has been unsatisfactory, with Ukrainian forces successfully disabling Siloks in previous incidents in June and October 2022.

Possible reasons for the Siloks' ineffectiveness include Ukrainian drone operators outsmarting Russian jamming attempts by frequently changing their radio frequencies or the Silok lacking the necessary sensitivity and power to effectively detect and jam drones. In essence, the Silok may be inadequate for its intended task.

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This development contradicts earlier reports of Russia rendering Ukraine's drone force useless through electronic warfare. A Ukrainian soldier previously noted that Russia's electronic warfare capabilities had become a significant challenge, describing it as a "continual game of cat and mouse" between the two nations.

However, recent events suggest that Ukrainian forces have found ways to counteract the Silok systems, using the very drones designed to be defended against.

On June 18, 2023, French publication Le Monde reported that both Ukraine and Russia were losing hundreds of drones daily, burning through a cumulative total of 10,000 drones per month.

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