Russians Modify Shahed-136 Drones for Coordinated Mobile Network Attacks on Ukraine

Homemade Modules Utilize Ukrainian Mobile Network to Bypass Air Defense
  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 01:13 PM, November 30, 2023
  • 1231
Russians Modify Shahed-136 Drones for Coordinated Mobile Network Attacks on Ukraine
Shahed-136 attack drone with DIY structures taped to it @via Ukrainian media

Russian military forces have adapted Shahed-136 drones to exploit weaknesses in Ukrainian air defense, employing makeshift modules to coordinate attacks via the country's mobile phone network.

Photos circulating on social media reveal the modifications, showcasing a 3D-printed plastic container affixed to the drone's fuselage, housing an Alcatel 3G modem with a Ukrainian operator's SIM card.

The securely taped module includes antennas and a router powered by a nearby household charging battery. Notably, the container holds explosives with a wire connecting it to the drone's nose, potentially leading to the warhead, suggesting a self-destruct mechanism in case of a crash to impede Ukrainian engineers from analyzing the wreckage, although the explosives remained inactive.

The module's primary function is believed to transmit the drone's location in real-time, creating a live map for Russian operators. If a drone is downed, the signal would cease, indicating its location on the map.

This modification enables Russian forces to monitor locations where drones halt prematurely, redirecting subsequent waves along alternative routes to identify secure corridors.

The adaptation addresses a critical limitation of Shahed-136 drones – their fully autonomous guidance system lacking post-launch communication. While speculation surrounds terrain navigation or network control, visible connections to the drone's control system are absent. This experimental solution is not anticipated to be widespread on all drones in the immediate future, underscoring the importance of continued testing and development.

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