The militants came out into the airspace
The military repulsed the attack of unmanned vehicles on Russian facilities in Syria
On Monday, the Ministry of Defense reported on the attack of radical Islamists on Russian military facilities. According to the military, the militants used 13 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to attack the air base at Khmeimim and the support point in Tartus. None of them achieved their goal, and three unmanned aircraft were captured. The military argue that the assembly of UAVs without the help of specialists who understand, for example, in the technology of homing an aircraft-type UAV on satellite GPS coordinates, is impossible. Now the intelligence services are studying the mixtures used in the manufacture of explosives — this should help them calculate the delivery channels of IED components to militants.
The first information about the attack of militants from the air appeared on the night of January 6: several military and diplomatic sources told Kommersant that the air defense and EW units stationed in Khmeimim and Tartous had successfully repelled the attack. On Monday, the Defense Ministry specified that the air defense systems then identified «13 small-sized air targets of unknown identity» approaching Russian facilities. According to the results of the data received, the military realized that it was a question of ten shock UAVs aimed at Khmeimim, and three more — to Tartus. Of these, six EW units were able to take control: three drones were successfully planted near the base, three detonated during a collision with the ground. According to Kommersant’s information, it was possible to do this in a short time because the UAVs were moved by analog, rather than digital, control. The remaining seven unmanned aerial vehicles were destroyed by the calculations of the Pantsir-S1 air defense missile systems. «There are no injured or material damage at Russian military facilities, the facilities continue to function in a planned mode,» the Defense Ministry added.
While none of the radical groups took responsibility for the attack. However, according to Kommersant sources, it is very likely that they are fighters from Ahrar ash Sham (the organization is banned in the Russian Federation): they have tried unsuccessfully to use UAVs to destroy the demining units of the Syrian army in Homs. Then the objects were seen on approach and almost immediately destroyed. The version of involvement of this particular group is partially proved by the interpretation of the data of intercepted UAVs. Similar drones, according to Kommersant, were used by militants and with mortar shelling of Khmeimima on the night of January 1. However, human casualties (ten wounded and two killed servicemen) and equipment damage (according to unconfirmed reports, they were received by the Su-24M front-line bombers and Su-35S fighters, as well as the An-72 military transport aircraft) were the result of mortar shelling sabotage group of militants from the ground. The latest attack, in turn, was the first large-scale use of UAV by Islamists during the entire campaign of the Russian Federation in Syria.
How radical Islamists fired from Russian mortar shells Russian airbase in Syria
Now the Russian military is conducting a detailed analysis of the structure, technical stuffing and VCA, which were used to create the UAV. Manufacturing technology (wooden base, plywood wings, a large number of scotch and plastic, hand-crafted motor) is not a technical find, one of Kommersant sources says, «but for one-off use, the militants do not need another»: «For them, this is a one-off item , I started and forgot. » Nevertheless, according to the expert, a number of technical solutions make it possible to say that such UAVs can be launched from a distance of more than 50 km, and guidance in this case will be carried out using GPS satellite coordinates. The Defense Ministry is convinced that such technologies could be obtained only from one of the countries possessing «high technological capabilities to provide satellite navigation», as well as a remote control of the discharge of IED into the assigned coordinates. The UAV itself is equipped with barometric sensors and servo-drives for steering the elevator. The Russian expert in the field of unmanned systems Denis Fedutinov notes that «similar UAVs were in the militants both in Iraq and in Syria, and several times even showed their fairly effective application.» «Works on unmanned equipment were carried out in large scale — commercially available small class products were purchased that were converted to a shock load, and even there was some semblance of specialized production of their own unmanned vehicles,» he said.
The loss of Russian military equipment in Syria
Based on the results of the UAV study, military specialists determined that the «IEDs attached to the IEDs, built on the basis of a mortar shell, used» fuses of foreign production. » In turn, a number of expert assessments that, according to Kommersant, will be conducted by representatives of Russian special services: explosive experts will study the type and origin of explosives used in the assembly of IEDs, and after that the reconnaissance should calculate possible delivery channels to militants of «sensitive» technologies and devices. The military stated that the fact of exploitation by the militants of the percussion drone speaks of the transfer to militants of technologies that allow carrying out terrorist attacks in any country.
What prevents the restoration of peace in Syria
Russian parliamentarians, in turn, felt that the latest attack on Russian military facilities in Syria was carried out by militants with the help of Western special services. «With their direct connivance, if not to say with their assistance,» said Yury Shvytkin, deputy chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee (quoted by RIA Novosti). «In Syria, they can not be obtained simply by the secret services, which are coordinated by the United States,» he said (quoted by RIA Novosti).
In the Pentagon, in turn, the agency was told that the devices and technologies used by the militants to create a percussive UAV can be «easily purchased on the open market»: «This is cause for concern».