British Special Forces are teaching elite Ukrainian troops how to shoot down ‘mini-drones’ with a new laser gun style system.
The sight, dubbed the smash, is fitted to an assault rifle and generates a laser box around the target – allowing the operator to shoot it down.
The Ministry of Defence has ordered 225 Smash sights with 100 being shipped to Poland where UK special forces soldiers will train their counterparts to use the British-made system.
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Ukrainian forces are facing an increase in Russian drone attacks, which include small plane shaped UAVs used in ‘kamikaze’ attacks and tiny help held variants used for reconnaissance.
Designed to take down both large and small UAVs, the Smash unit is centred around what designers call a ‘black box of tricks’ which sits on top of the weapon.
Ben Rowland, a former air defence officer with the Royal Artillery said: “Technology is marching forward at a pace and we need this sort of innovation to keep ahead of our adversaries.
“From what I understand this is a world beating game changer, which will give soldiers the edge against what is a growing threat.”
The Smash system incorporates an image processor that uses AI to identify and lock onto a drone when it’s inside the field of view.
It then paints a box around the target and when the sight is properly aligned, the gun is then allowed to fire, increasing the probability of destroying the drone.
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Officially called the Counter Small Uncrewed Air System it can be fitted to any infantry assault rifle and when aligned with target fires a pulse at the UAV.
It is understood it can be used in day and night conditions and can target drones travelling in excess of 100 mph.
The top secret technology is being closely guarded and there is concern that if Ukrainian special operations units lose a Smash unit on operations the Russian could salvage the technology.
In the next couple of years the system will be issued to naval and RAF ground units and is due to be displayed at this year’s DESI defence exhibition in London.
Wing Commander Mark Bowden, who heads the new project said : “We are very pleased to announce the arrival of the first dismounted C-sUAS equipment into the core equipment program.”
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