Ukraine unveiled a new drone it says can fly far behind enemy lines and is resistant to Russian jamming.
The Backfire has a range of 20 miles and features a GPS antenna for navigation, Ukraine says.
Both Ukraine and Russia have made advancements in their drone technology as UAVs dominate the war.
Ukraine has unveiled a new drone, and it says this model can fly far behind enemy lines and resist persistent Russian jamming.
It's the latest development in Russia and Ukraine's ongoing drone war, one accelerated by constant technological advancements and the ever-present role of drones on — and above — the battlefield.
On Monday, Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine for Innovation, Education, Science, and Technology, announced the development of the Backfire unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), calling it "a powerful drone" that flies up to 20 miles in range "behind enemy's positions and causes colossal losses."
Specifically, Federov said the drone would help Ukrainian forces "hit Russian artillery, logistics hubs, enemy storage points, and command posts," Ukrainska Pravda reported.
—Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) November 20, 2023
Fedorov noted on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, that the Backfire's main feature is its "powerful GPS antenna, resistant to Russian jamming" and electronic warfare. That antenna, Fedorov added, "is almost impossible to jam," Ukrainska Pravda said, and thanks to the drone's "complete autonomy, the Russians cannot trace its coordinates and ground crew."
And while the Backfire drone will soon be mass produced and join Ukraine's other various UAVs in combat, Fedorov said it's already completed 50 or more successful missions over the past few months.
The Backfire is Ukraine's latest development in a vicious drone war that has kept both sides on its toes as technological advancements force constant innovation. Troops regularly rely on drones to fight in combat — one Ukrainian service member said in September that his unit hadn't really fired its rifles in half a year and was often relying on drones to fight.
Throughout the conflict, relatively cheap UAVs have taken out tanks and armored vehicles, largely asymmetric targets, as well as virtually anything that moves on the battlefield. Videos from the war regularly show first-person view (FPV) drones colliding with tanks, flying into open hatches in armored vehicles, sneaking up on troops in trenches, and exploding on impact.
Their buzzing overhead is a constant reminder of danger and signals that, at any moment, an exploding UAV could be flown into an unsuspecting target. Both Ukraine and Russia are actively participating in an drones arms race of sorts, which has pushed them to seek new technologies in order to best the other side.
Beyond autonomous drones, operators, too, have become critical for both Ukraine and Russia, as they develop a variety of specific flight and control skills. But their value also makes them key targets for their enemies, which leads to operators targeting one another with their drones.
But as the impact of drones grows, so have efforts to stop them. The front lines are flooded with jamming technology that scrambles drones' navigation controls. While operator-controlled drones are typically less susceptible to this, and cheaper should they be lost or destroyed in battle, jamming is still a major problem. That makes Ukraine's new Backfire's potential to block Russian interference so vital, giving Ukraine an edge to fly along and behind enemy lines.
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