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The September 14, 2019, attack by Houthi drones on Saudi Arabia oil industry facilities dramatically changed warfare “philosophy.” The Saudis spent billions of dollars for extremely expensive US-made air defence systems to find out they are absolutely helpless against the Houthi rebel forces cheap weapons. Dozens of drones and unguided rockets successfully caused enough damage to halve the Saudi’s national oil company Aramco’s production, generating unacceptable losses to one of the world’s top oil producers. About two months after these attacks, Saudi Arabia conceded a cease fire with the Houthi rebels as a positive step to start negotiations about the future of Yemen. In fact, it is fair to say that a handful of simple weaponised drones put one of the region’s super-powers on its knees.

Kupol PRO (Photo: Yury Laskin)

Simultaneously, and perhaps not surprisingly, Russia released impressive data on the successfully high-jacked and / or destroyed drones that targeted Syria’s Khmeimeem and Tartus military bases. According to the Russian MoD, during the last 24 months, the bases’ air defence shot down almost 120 hostile UAVs, including 47 downed drones just for the month of August 2019. Several drones were successfully high-jacked and brought to land safely in Russia-Syrian protected territory, providing a brilliant chance for close examination of these drone’s technology.

Sapsan Bekas (Photo: Yury Laskin)

At the Dubai Air Show this past November, Russia showcased its latest systems for countering drones and other air attack weaponry in addition to its usual new crop of aircraft and helicopters.

Talking about this new addition to Russian defence export possibilities, Rosoboronexport Director General Alexander Mikheev said: “We are doing our best to justify increased attention by partners and surprise them with unique Russian defence developments.”

As Rosoboronexport is Russia’s sole defence export mediator, Mikheev mentioned that – along with well-known “hard-kill” air defence systems, Rosoboronexport offered “soft-kill” electronic warfare equipment mounted on various platforms, including the highly mobile systems such as Sapsan-Bekas, Kupol-PRO and Pishchal-PRO. “These systems can be successfully used to protect military and industrial facilities, (and) civilian infrastructure against drone attacks,” he added.

Pishchal (Photo: Yury Laskin)

According to Mikheev, Rosoboronexport enjoyed great interest in its counter-drone developments, which offer a wide range of assets capable of protecting any facility or territory against increasing new drone / UAV threats. Due to this subject’s importance, there will be further separate articles with detailed technical characteristics of these mentioned main systems.

Mikheev continued his comments to the press noting the total volume of sold weaponry for 19 years Rosoboronexport’s existence is $165 billion. He confirmed the contract with Turkey for the S-400 long-range air defence system was successfully completed with all four missile batteries delivered to the customer and full payment received. The Republic of India – the next S-400 customer – made its first advanced payment of a record-breaking $5 billion contract, added Mikheev. He was unable to confirm details on the transactions conducted and currencies used because of the USA’s anti-Russian sanctions, which he named as “purely unfair competition” against Russia and her trading partners.

Yury Laskin