SU-30SM, SU-35S, and SU-34 flying in formation - Sputnik International, 1920
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He Who Laughs Last: Russian 'Joker' Drones May Double Up as Air Defenses

© Sputnik / Stanislav Krasilnikov / Go to the mediabankA Supercam drone operator from Russia's Tsentr Battlegroup in control of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)
A Supercam drone operator from Russia's Tsentr Battlegroup in control of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) - Sputnik International, 1920, 31.03.2024
“Joker-10” drones have reportedly been adjusted to act as air defenses – they can shoot down Ukrainian UAVs or simply ram them, becoming a cheap alternative to expensive missile interceptors.
Russian “Joker-10” first-person view (FPV) drones have been adapted to double up as air defenses, according to Dmitry Kuzyakin, general director of the Center for Integrated Unmanned Solutions.

“We’ve come up with a new scenario and implemented it – the FPV air defense and security in inner airspace. Currently, it’s a new project of air defense and it is underway," he said.

Kuzyakin explained that the drones create a cloud of shards that destroys enemy projectiles. However, they can also ram them directly.
“Direct fire is not the only way to down enemy drone. The most effective way to destroy aerial targets is ramming, as always. That’s how we may have effective and cheap air defense systems,” he added.
A serviceman of the Russian Armed Forces adjusting the fire of tank units using a UAV in the Zaporozhye region. - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.01.2024
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Experts from the Center for Integrated Unmanned Solutions explained that enemy drones are often made of plastic and thus cannot be detected by radars, while surface-to-air missiles are extremely expensive.
“Electronic warfare systems are not that effective [against enemy drones] because such UAVs do not use vulnerable radio channels. Downing such drones and even small jets with air defense missiles may be costly from an economic standpoint. Single air defense missiles cost as much as a private house, while one drone may be cheaper than a bicycle.”
According to reports, the "Joker" drones, which are already being used by the Russian Armed Forces on the battlefield, can fly up to 200 km per hour if empty. During tests, this model managed to consistently down hostile UAVs.
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