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What’s New: Drones apparently modified by hand to help overcome electronic warfare (EW).

Why It’s Important: It shows the increasing importance of EW on this and other battlefields. And how important forces at the tactical level think it is to overcome EW.

What Else to Know: A very interesting article that raises a number of possibilities as to why Russian forces are doing this. From the article these include:

  • Using cellular to modify the drones’ flight path enroute. This could be done crudely, but might improve navigation with GPS denied.
  • To locate downed drones thereby identifying flight paths that are likely to be less successful than others.
  • Collecting information on which drones made it to target indicating a successful strike, thus no need to send another drone.
  • Intelligence collection by sensing and transmitting electronic signatures to Russian analysts.

The article makes a good point that these modems cause the drones, which ordinarily have a very low electronic signature, to have a very prominent one. So they are likely easier to identify and shoot down. Perhaps that is part of the Russian calculus also…



Shahed-136 With Cellular Modem Found In Ukraine: What It Means

Here are the possibilities of what the addition of improvised cellular communications to Russia’s Shahed drones means.


he largest single attack against Ukraine by Russian Shahed-136 type drones last week led to an unusual discovery. Technicians from a Ukrainian drone training and development company said they found a 4G modem with a SIM card from the Ukrainian Kyivstar telecom firm inside some of the downed drones. This could have implications of varying degrees of impact.

The Victory Drone company initially suggested on Telegram that the SIM card and modem could be used by Russia to track the remains of down drones, gain additional navigation via cell phones or telemetry “to adjust the flight mission in real-time.”