TechRussian drones use pioneering fiber optic tech, evading electronic warfare

Russian drones use pioneering fiber optic tech, evading electronic warfare

Russian drone with a fiber optic cable
Russian drone with a fiber optic cable
Images source: © Telegram | @serhii_flash
2:33 PM EST, March 8, 2024
“We saw something we've never seen before. The Russian FPV drone was equipped with a fiber optic cable reel, extending about 6.2 miles, unwinding during flight. This introduces us to a novel drone control technology,” explained Serhij Beskrestnow on Telegram, commenting on the device found in Ukraine.
Upon inspecting the Russian drone closely, the Ukrainians noted a large fiber optic spool inside, which would unwind mid-flight. Theoretically, this design allows pilots to maintain a constant, uninterrupted high-quality video signal, offering at least two significant advantages.
Firstly, it enhances the drone's striking accuracy due to improved visibility (higher quality of transmitted image) over conventional radio-controlled drones. Secondly, a drone controlled via a fiber optic cable is invulnerable to electronic warfare systems, making it impossible to intercept during an attack.
The Unian agency also highlighted another benefit of this communication technology. The fiber optic connection eliminates the issue known as "radio horizon," which is a disruption that occurs at the final phase of the flight (just before the attack, the so-called dive) when the drone is far from the pilot.
This detail is crucial as it ensures the drone will indeed hit its intended target at the moment of the attack – a certainty not shared by radio-controlled models that may miss their mark due to signal loss before the strike.
Beskrestnow noted that this technology had once been proposed by Ukrainian engineers but wasn't adopted due to concerns over effectiveness, specifically the risk of the fiber optic strands breaking and losing the drone. He recommended a closer examination of the technology used by the Russians to ensure the Ukrainians "do not find themselves behind the enemy".
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