Russian Army Reportedly Finds Way to Pinpoint Ukrainian Artillery Using Smartphones
© Sputnik / Konstantin MikhailchevskyAftermath of a Ukrainian artillery strike on the settlement of Vasilevka, Zaporozhiya region. January 4, 2023.
© Sputnik / Konstantin Mikhailchevsky/
Russia’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine has witnessed the heavy use of multiple launch rocket systems, howitzers and missiles, with both sides taking to a ‘shoot-and-scoot’ strategy – descending on an area using mobile weapons platforms, firing off their rockets or missiles, and evacuating before the other side has a chance to respond.
Russian troops have reportedly created a custom piece of software for ordinary Android-based smartphones and tablets allowing them to help triangulate the coordinates of enemy artillery based on the sounds their fire makes.
According to a Russian military magazine, the makeshift detection method involves the use of multiple devices, with servicemen situated 3-6 km from the front line recording sound levels to determine roughly where the shots are coming from. Triangulation calculations can be done with the help of satellites, or via internal synchronization between devices, with data transmitted to a central device to calculate the target’s approximate coordinates, accounting for weather data.
The method, one of several systems of acoustic- and sound-thermal-based reconnaissance in use by Russian troops, is less precise than special-purpose military-grade systems, but good enough to provide drones with the approximate location of enemy artillery for further reconnaissance. The software was reportedly developed by officers taking part in combat operations.
The magazine does not go into detail about the possible risks involved in using this makeshift smartphone-based detection method. Last week, the Russian military said that mobile phone signals from a temporary deployment point in the city of Makeevka being used by Russian troops facilitated a Ukrainian HIMARS strike, killing at least 89 personnel, including a lieutenant general, immediately after midnight on New Year’s Eve.
The Russian military command in charge of the operation got a shakeup on Wednesday, with Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov appointed commander of the Russian Joint Group of Forces in Ukraine, with the former commander, General Sergei Surovikin, relieved and named as his deputy.
The conflict in Ukraine has seen the heavy use of mobile artillery systems, with Ukrainian forces receiving billions of dollars-worth of precision artillery and howitzers from the United States and other NATO countries to fuel the West’s proxy conflict with Russia. Russian forces and their Donbass militia allies have repeatedly shown off destroyed artillery systems –such as the M777 towed howitzer. However, picking off self-propelled artillery and MLRS has proven more of a challenge, with Ukrainian forces ‘shooting and scooting’ – i.e. firing and quickly retreating from a position to covered or fortified areas, to complicate detection and retaliation. This has allowed Ukraine’s Western-provided artillery systems to continue shelling both the Russian military and civilian cities and settlements in the Donbass with impunity for months.