Russia-Ukraine War: Russia claims to use electromagnetic anti-drone gun

The weapon, identified as the Stupor, was described in the report as an advanced electromagnetic weapon, that severs the connection between drones and their operators.

Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 UCAV (photo credit: Army.com.ua/CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 UCAV
(photo credit: Army.com.ua/CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

Russia claims to have made use of a new advanced weapon system in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine: An anti-drone gun, Russian media outlet TASS reported, citing an unnamed security source.

The weapon, identified as the Stupor, was described in the report as an advanced electromagnetic weapon developed by the Russian Defense Ministry's Main Robotics Research and Test Center that severs the connection between drones and their operators.

"Just as you press a button, Stupor jams the operator’s signal to the drone. After that, the drone is neutralized and forced to land in a designated area. The need for such portable anti-drone weapons became evident because the Ukrainian troops are using a large number of UAVs and various small copters," the source said, according to TASS.

"Just as you press a button, Stupor jams the operator’s signal to the drone. After that, the drone is neutralized and forced to land in a designated area. The need for such portable anti-drone weapons became evident because the Ukrainian troops are using a large number of UAVs and various small copters."

Unknown source

 An aerial view shows Ukrainian UAV Bayraktar targeting Russian landing craft vessel at Zmiinyi (Snake) Island, Ukraine, in this still image from a handout video released by Press service of Ukrainian Ground Forces on May 7, 2022.  (credit: Ukrainian Ground Forces/Handout via REUTERS) An aerial view shows Ukrainian UAV Bayraktar targeting Russian landing craft vessel at Zmiinyi (Snake) Island, Ukraine, in this still image from a handout video released by Press service of Ukrainian Ground Forces on May 7, 2022. (credit: Ukrainian Ground Forces/Handout via REUTERS)
Drones in the Ukraine-Russia War

Throughout the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which Russia refers to exclusively as a "special military operation," Ukrainian troops have made considerable use of drone warfare against the Russian invaders.

The most well-known line of drones in the Ukrainian arsenal is the Turkish-made Bayrakter drone, which has seen considerable success in the ongoing war, such as in strikes on Snake Island, despite Russia having long thought to have a far superior air force at their disposal

In addition, Ukraine is also working on obtaining new advanced drones from the US.

These drones are known as MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones, which can be armed with devastating Hellfire missiles, can also be used to gather intelligence and can fly over 30 hours.

"Generally the MQ-1C is a much larger aircraft with a max take-off weight around three times that of the Bayraktar-TB2, with commensurate advantages in payload capacity, range, and endurance," said drone expert Dan Gettinger with the Vertical Flight Society.

The MQ-1C is also compatible with a greater variety of munitions than the Bayraktar-TB2. The Ukrainian Bayraktars are equipped with 22 kg (48 pounds) Turkish-made MAM-L missiles, around half the weight of a Hellfire.

The war in Ukraine is just another example of drone warfare being used extensively and successfully on the battlefield, with another example being the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In that war, Azerbaijan, allied with Turkey, made extensive use of drone warfare, defeating Armenia, which in turn was supplied by Russia.

As such, means of combatting drone effectiveness is something that is a must for an evolving battlefield. However, until now, it was thought by some that Russia was only using surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) to counter drones. 

The veracity of the reports surrounding the Stupor is unclear, though the weapon itself is known to exist, having been unveiled by Russia at an international military-technical showcase in 2017. Also in 2017, Russia was reported by independent Russian media outlet Mil.Today to have been testing the Stupor and other anti-drone systems in Syria.

Ukraine's anti-drone gun

But Ukraine is also reportedly making use of a similar electromagnetic gun against drones.

Known as the KVS G-6 and produced by Ukrainian firm Kvertus Technology, this gun also supposedly boasts a range of 3 kilometers, compared to the Stupor's 2-kilometer range

Kvertus CTO Yaroslav Filimonov also told Radio Free Europe that the weapon has been streamlined, making it easy to handle.

Seth J. Frantzman and Reuters contributed to this report.