Video footage shared on Telegram, Twitter, and Reddit this week shows a Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicle dropping explosives on a Russian electronic control station designed to help troops detect and counter drones. The video, recorded by a rotary-blade drone adapted to drop grenades and other munitions, shows explosives being dropped on the radio monitoring station.
Ukraine Weapons Tracker, a popular English-language war analysis account on Twitter, reposted the video and revealed that the target was a “modern Russian RLK-MC-A (ROSC-1) complex” that was “specially developed to counter enemy drones.”
“Here we see munitions being dropped right on its electronic control and radio monitoring subsystems. The RLK-MC-A appeared to be completely helpless,” the post reads.
It’s not the first time that video footage like this has been shared by the Ukrainian military, and it likely won’t be the last.
How the “Valdai” Complex Works
The RLK-MC “Valdai” radar complex was developed by the Lianozovo Electromechanical Plant. Work started on the project in 2016 and Russian media reports suggest it was rolled out for military use in the summer of 2021. The aim of the project was to give troops a portable radar complex that can detect and track UAV targets, and to easily allow troops to detect small UAVs and distinguish them from birds and other flying objects.
An export modification of the system, ROSC-1, was also manufactured.
The radar complex uses a self-propelled vehicle on a three-axle chassis. It is divided into a control module, an optoelectronic module, a radar module, a direction-finding module that is used to find radio signal sources, and a countermeasures module. The complex features its own communications systems and power supply.
The fact that Ukrainian troops took out the drone-finding complex using a modified drone – and potentially even a modified commercial-grade drone – is particularly embarrassing for the Russian military.
Ukrainian Drone Program
This summer, Ukraine launched an “Army of Drones” program using drones donated by foreign allies, charitable organizations, and individuals online. The program also involved training Ukrainian troops to use military drones for surveillance and combat. It encouraged troops to use the commercial drones for surveillance purposes and to modify them to drop munitions on Russian positions.
“The army of drones will allow us to constantly monitor the 2,470-kilometer-long front line and to field an effective response to enemy attacks, using modern technology,” Ukraine’s Col. Oleksii Noskov told BBC News.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.