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The development of a new anti-drone complex, the Repellent-1 system, has been recently completed by Russian engineers. It is designed to suppress and destroy miniaturized enemy drones no larger than a few dozen centimeters and no heavier than a few kilograms.

The system is being considered for introduction into the Russian military, Izvestia newspaper reported. The system is capable of automatically detecting and neutralizing enemy spy drones at distances of over 30 km, suppressing their control sensors via powerful jamming, or through directed interference to the drones’ satellite navigation systems.

Repellent-1 was created by engineers from the Moscow-based JSC Scientific & Technical Center of Electronic Warfare (STC-EW) design bureau

According to Sputniknews.com, Repellent-1’s unique, super-sensitive electronic intelligence station uses enemy drones’ control signals to detect them across long distances at any time of day or night, and under any weather conditions, including the extreme conditions of the Arctic.

Built onto a MAZ-6317 truck, the 20 ton Repellent-1 system is mobile, allowing it to defend advancing military units on the battlefield, as well as stationary objects such as military bases and airfields.

The system is operated from a workstation in the control cabin on the back of the truck, situated next to a collapsible telescopic mast, data from which is fed into the control cabin. The upper section of the mast contains the heart of the complex – electronic intelligence and jamming equipment, together with a panoramic camera.

Repellent-1’s control cabin life support systems are designed to protect personnel from small-caliber fire, as well as chemical and biological attack.

Speaking to Izvestia, the general director of the manufacturing company STC-EW, Aleksandr Sarkisyan, confirmed that “at the moment, work on the complex has been completed.”  “The system has passed the full cycle of necessary testing, including under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense, and fully conforms to the design characteristics inherent in the development phase,” he added.

He added that the system is now being considered for introduction into the Russian Armed Forces. Furthermore, development work is also planned for a portable version of the anti-miniature drone system. “We plan to create a portable, collapsible version of the complex, adopted to be carried by several persons” in disassembled form, which would make it “suitable for rapid deployment in crowded areas,” Sarkisyan explained.

Defense systems analyst Oleg Zheltonozhko explained that in modern warfare, “small size drones are used not only for aerial reconnaissance…but to correct short-range artillery fire. Because of their small size, they are immune to conventional air defense systems.” Therefore, the expert noted, “fighting against a whole swarm of drones is possible only by drowning out their control channels and satellite navigation with powerful radio interference. But a drone’s control signal is very weak, which means that modern electronic intelligence systems like Avtobaza-M and Moskva are not able to detect or localize them.” Hence the development of systems like Repellent-1.  

According to the newspaper, among its foreign competitors, only the Blighter Surveillance Systems’ Blighter anti-UAV defense system offers anything close to the Repellent-1’s capabilities. However, that system operates effectively at distances of only 2.5 km.

Meanwhile, the US has been searching for solutions. According to defenseone.com, more than a year ago, the US Army began the Maneuver Fires Integration Experiment at Fort Sill in Oklahoma to speed next-generation anti-drone technology to soldiers.

“What we found is we can use existing capabilities in a different way. To counter “low, slow, small” drones, the Army is eyeing software-programmable radar, directed energy, and next-generation electronic warfare gear — and “putting it on vehicles we already have and integrating it organizations that already exist,” says Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, head of the U.S. Army’s Capabilities Integration Center.