Ukrainian Drone Deploys Modified TM-62 Anti-Tank Mines

This is pretty amazing. Drones have already changed early 21st century warfare (as this war between Russia and Ukraine has shown). But these are free munitions left behind by Russia that are now being modified from a defensive weapon to a powerful offensive weapons. Russia has littered many a field with these over the years… will countries leave mines on the battlefield en masse now? Knowing drones can deliver them ON-TO their targets — from the air?

FUNKER530’s  WILL KILLMORE has this (click mine to the right to enlarge):

Ukrainian drone operators demonstrate resourcefulness in a video showing a drone dropping T-62 anti tank mines that are tandem linked to grenades, giving them the ability to deliver much higher payloads onto enemy targets than standard drone-dropped grenades.

As Russian lines have fallen back, they have left behind massive caches of munitions, including piles of powerful anti tank mines. Considering a buried mine is of little use to Ukraine’s counteroffensive, they have ingeniously developed a way to make those munitions an offensive weapon.

The construction of the weapon is especially interesting. It appears a one-gallon jug is being used as a fin stabilizer at the base of the grenade to ensure the munition drops in the correct fashion for dependable detonation upon impact.

RYAN ROBERTSON discusses the Russian doctrine and tactics that I assume must change now:

.This war is full of great examples of battlefield engineering, but this new strategy certainly tips the scales in terms of ironic ingenuity.

Russian defensive doctrine calls for minefields with a depth of 120 meters. In Ukraine, the Russians adjusted their doctrine and quadrupled minefield depths up to 500 meters.

In August, Oleksiy Danilov, the former secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told reporters at CNN the density of Russia’s minefields was “insane.”

“On average, there are 3-4-5 mines per square meter,” Danilov said. “Imagine how difficult the work is to remove them to allow our military to move afterwards. And if earlier there were hopes that this could be done with the help of equipment provided by our partners, today our units are doing a very difficult job on foot in many parts of the frontline at night.”

Russian artillery and defensive trenches are certainly formidable, but the complexity of Russia’s minefields was far and away the biggest challenge to Ukraine’s three-month-old counteroffensive. Now, they might be a primary source of new munitions for Ukraine.

A video circulating on social media shows how the Ukrainians modified commercial drones to carry their new payload. The explosive is equipped with a grenade fuse and then put on a platform on the drone’s underside. When the drone is over its target, the pilot releases the platform and drops the mine. Designed to stop tanks, the air-dropped mines make quick work of softer targets.

Ukraine’s ability to use commercial drones on the battlefield is a large part of why it’s still in the fight……

That pic above/right near the top is from this Tweet… if you go to that Tweet, you can see more video of the drops:

“Ukraine’s Asymmetric War” (WSJ | Armstrong n Getty)

Armstrong and Getty read from the Wall Street Journal about Ukraine’s success in fighting a more tech-savvy war. Pretty interesting.

Here is the WSJ article, but unlocked:

Ukraine’s Asymmetric War — Moscow has more firepower, but Kyiv is using digital technology better.

Reports from Ukraine are filled with stories of Javelin antitank missiles and Turkish Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles taking out Russian tanks and armored vehicles. The Biden administration has announced $800 million in defensive weapons for Ukraine, including Javelins, Stinger antiaircraft weapons and Switchblade drones. More amazing is what Ukraine has also been doing on the cheap. And I don’t mean Molotov cocktails.

Wars are increasingly asymmetric—the lesser-armed side can put up a strong fight. The U.S. learned this in Iraq with insurgent use of improvised explosive devices, basically roadside bombs triggered with cellphones. Similarly, Ukraine has been deploying inexpensive, almost homemade weapons and using technology to its advantage.

The Times of London reports that Ukraine is using $2,000 commercial octocopter drones, modified with thermal imagers and antitank grenades, to find and attack Russian tanks hiding between homes in villages at night. Ukraine’s Aerorozvidka, its aerial reconnaissance team, has 50 squads of drone pilots who need solid internet connections to operate.

When the internet was cut in Syria in 2013, enterprising techies set up point-to-point Wi-Fi connections to bring internet access from across the border in Turkey. You can do this with Pringles potato-chip cans and $50 off-the-shelf Wi-Fi routers. Ukraine may be spared this ad hoc setup as

Elon Musk and his firm Starlink have donated thousands of satellite internet-access terminals to Ukraine, including to the Aerorozvidka squads, which come with warnings to camouflage the antennas. They typically cost $499 each and $99 a month for service.

Ukraine also effectively jammed Russia’s long-in-the-tooth wireless military-communication technology, which apparently uses a single-frequency channel to operate. Former Central Intelligence Agency Director

David Petraeus told CNN that Russians were then forced to use cellphones to communicate until Ukraine blocked the +7 country code for Russia and eventually took down 3G services that Russia uses for secure connections. Russian soldiers were forced to steal Ukrainian cellphones to communicate with one another. That’s no way to fight a war.

Ukraine also has taken advantage of crowdsourcing. The Journal told the story of Russian tanks that would fire on the city of Voznesensk and then back up a few hundred yards to avoid return fire. Civilians and Territorial Defense volunteers would then message the tanks’ new coordinates via the Viber social-messaging app.

The propaganda war is also being fought on the cheap, from President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Zoom call with the U.S. Congress to Ukraine’s work spreading news inside Russia. The Russians have blocked Facebook and Twitter, independent media has been shut down, and on Russian television no one is allowed to say “invasion” or “war.” But no country can completely filter and firewall real news. The Telegram and WhatsApp messaging apps encrypt their communications. Ukraine has begun using facial recognition to identify killed and captured Russian soldiers, even contacting their families and posting their photos on Telegram channels. Twitter now is using a service to disguise its origin and restore service to Russian users.

Most surprisingly, after much hype and many warnings, Russian cyberwarfare has been deemed fairly ineffective. Hours before the invasion, someone, presumably the Russians, launched a Trojan.Killdisk attack, disk-wiping malware that hit Ukrainian government and financial system computers and took down Parliament’s website. Cyberattack tracking firm Netscout called the attack “modest.” A Ukrainian newspaper then released a file with details on 120,000 Russian soldiers, including names, addresses, phone and passport numbers. Where the information came from is unknown.

But we have a hint. Ukraine is filled with smart coders, and the government set up an “IT Army of Ukraine” Telegram channel to coordinate digital attacks on Russian military digital systems. As many as 400,000 have volunteered so far. An officer of the Ukraine State Service of Special Communications said they were engaged in “cyber-resistance.” This digital flash mob has taken down Russian websites, though I doubt we will ever fully know the damage it may have inflicted. This is definitely a social-network-influenced conflict.

In the fog of war, stories and disinformation swirl. Most are impossible to verify. I’ve heard of foreign volunteers swarming to Ukraine who then post photos on Instagram. Both Facebook and Instagram strip GPS location coordinates from smartphone photos, but they allow these volunteers to tag nearby locations, potentially giving away refugees’ hiding places. These could be targeted by Russian missiles and may have been the reason the Mariupol theater was destroyed.

New technology for use in commerce often emerges after the smoke of battle clears. World War I produced tanks, field radios and improved airplanes. World War II brought radar, penicillin, nuclear power, synthetic rubber, Jeeps and even duct tape. What we are seeing in Ukraine is the asymmetric power of pervasive inexpensive commercial technology, especially citizen-empowering social networks and crowdsourcing. So far these tools have been altering the war’s outcome. Welcome to 21st-century warfare.

As Russian invasion continues, Makariv may be small in size, but it has big strategic value as it blocks Russia’s armed forces from encircling Kyiv. Ukrainian volunteer fighters use drones in the area for reconnaissance that can be used by Ukrainian artillery units to strike back.

Footage out of Ukraine shows the impressive accuracy and timing of an air-to-ground anti personnel operation by means of a quadcopter dropping a small point-detonating explosive.

`Drones` vs. `Hope` // `Then` vs. `Now`

(To express in a short way my feelings on the matter… if we can take out Islamists with drones and our men and women in uniform do not get hurt… more power to Obama.) In an interesting segment, TMZ asks the artist who drew the now famous poster of Obama a question about what if anything he would change the word “hope” with, here is his answer:

Some artistic ideas using “drones” via Unsavory Agents: