The strategy is clear: Russia wants to use Iranian-designed kamikaze drones to destroy critical infrastructure in Ukraine and thus trigger the next wave of refugees. But Ukraine is arming itself in terms of defense. The “Shahed Catcher” should become a game changer.
The Russian army’s drone terror has caused severe damage in dozens of Ukrainian cities. Residential houses were torn apart, office buildings dismembered, power plants destroyed. The calculation made by Kremlin dictator Vladimir Putin is as simple as it is insidious: Broken power plants provide neither electricity nor heat for the Ukrainian population.
One consequence could be a mass exodus in winter and pose further challenges to western countries such as Germany and stir up additional unrest. Of course, not all drones sent by Russia hit their target. Surface-to-air missiles and fighter jets get many of them out of the sky – but not all of them because of the sheer mass, and secondly, combating them in this way is very expensive.
The comparatively cheap system “Shahed Catcher”, which translates to “Shahed Catcher” now promises a way out. According to the Defense Post portal, the budget for this was collected through crowdfunding. In return, there were bracelets for the donors, into which the last Azov steel produced in Mariupol was incorporated. The aim of the campaign was to get the equivalent of around 2.25 million euros for two systems. However, according to the Ukrainian Digital Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, the sum was doubled.
However, the Ukrainian leadership has not yet given any details on how the “Shahed Catcher” works. But according to the Ukrainian blogger Igor Lachenkow, according to a Forbes Ukraine report, it is a NATO system that is blinding its target. Oleg Horochowski from the “smartphone bank” Monobank and one of the initiators of the crowdfunding initiative also confirms this basic functionality.
According to Euromaidan Press, the systems “blinded” the drones, causing them to try to gain altitude, where they could more easily be targeted by air defense systems and shot down. In principle, the “Shahed Catcher” is similar to the “Sky Wiper” jammer gun already in use, with which the Ukrainian soldiers are already fighting conventional drones.
Digital Minister Fedorov spoke in “Forbes Ukraine” in this context of “drones that hunt drones.” However, he left open whether he was already alluding to the “Shahed Catcher” or to another system, such as a further developed combat drone of the Bayraktar TB2 type from Turkish production.
Either way, in the Ukraine, defending against kamikaze drones is now also a matter for the citizens. Users can take part in the “eLuftwehr” via an app. If you spot a drone or cruise missile in the sky, point your smartphone towards it and press a red button in the app.
The Ukrainian air defense immediately sees the marking on a map, compares it with its own radar information and can release the object for shooting down. However, there is one catch: the app is only available for Android so far.
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