Ukraine often uses small, difficult to detect UAVs. They often drop airships to create fake targets to make it difficult for Russian air defenses.
The Russian Defense Ministry on July 3 released a video of the Tor-M1 short-range air defense system of the Western Military District participating in the military operation in Ukraine, saying such complexes are operating around the clock to protect ground forces from enemy ambushes.
“We hit more than 70 targets. Enemy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) operate at various altitudes. We usually launch one or two rounds per target depending on importance, depending whether they carry ground-to-ground weapons or are just scouting. The combat crew shot down many UAVs and prevented them from informing enemy artillery, thereby protecting the lives of our comrades,” Anatoly, the captain of the Russian Tor-M1 said.
In the video, the Russian air defense detected an air target moving in the direction of infantry units. A Tor-M1 combat vehicle is deployed to counter and quickly detect the target. The crew did not rush to launch the projectile, but let the aircraft close to determine its type and purpose.
A missile is launched after the captain’s command, creating a long smoke trail towards the target. The image from the television optical sensor of the Tor-M1 system confirmed that the missile hit the target, causing the target to quickly fall.
The Tor-M1 crew also revealed the challenges when dealing with enemy UAVs, in which the Ukrainian military often creates many fake targets to hide the whereabouts of the aircraft.
“The enemy dropped many balloons to hide the UAV, but we caught them. The airship only moved in the direction of the wind at a certain speed, while the UAV constantly changed its flight path, speed and altitude. We also authenticate the target with a television optical sensor,” revealed Andrei, commander of a Tor-M1 unit.
Russian military personnel say that small UAVs and drones, which look like harmless toys, are the biggest threat because of their small size, difficulty to detect and large numbers. They can point targets and help Ukrainian artillery calibrate their ballistics, as well as carry grenades or small explosives to drop on positions of Russian forces and Ukrainian separatists.
“However, modern radar systems help Tor complexes detect and destroy targets within a radius of 30 km. The combat operation can take place in a fixed position or while on the move, helping to expand the range of defense forces on the ground,” the Russian defense TV channel said.
Russia is deploying short-range air defense systems Tor-M1 and an upgraded version of Tor-M2, as well as medium-range missile shields and electronic warfare equipment to deal with Ukrainian aircraft. Russia’s Defense Ministry on June 8 announced that its forces shot down 1,150 enemy UAVs, while Ukraine has not yet announced aircraft damage.