Mass Production of Groza.04.K Commences: Russia’s Response to FPV Drone Threat

The Russian company Kvant has developed a new compact and highly agile anti-drone system named Groza.04.K to counter FPV UAVs.

Ukrainian soldiers using FPV drones

Facing budget constraints for purchasing costly weaponry amid the ongoing proxy war in Ukraine, NATO strategists are opting to deploy significant quantities of small, cost-effective, yet formidable drones to Kyiv. Particularly prioritizing first-person perspective (FPV) drones, these assets leverage communication channels adept at thwarting various conventional forms of electronic warfare, thus significantly enhancing Ukraine’s combat capabilities. Consequently, the imperative arises for the development and manufacturing of countermeasures to effectively combat these drones, essential for safeguarding the lives of soldiers and military assets engaged in the battlefield.

Reportedly, mass production of the Groza.04.K has commenced, with Russian defense behemoth Rostec confirming that “the initial batch has been dispatched to the army” amidst the special operation.

As per Tvzvezda, the Groza.04.K toolkit was developed in an unprecedentedly short timeframe.

Andrey Kondrashov, General Director of Kvant, revealed that the mission to devise an anti-FPV system was initiated in August 2023. By summer, the system was crafted and delivered to the Ministry of Defense for specialized military operation testing.

So, how does Groza.04.K function?

According to Kondrashov, the new anti-drone system incorporates distinctive design solutions.

While Rostec hasn’t divulged the specifics of Groza.04.K’s capabilities or operational principles, they have unveiled images of the system’s casing—a black plastic box roughly the size of a toolbox. This suggests that the complex is portable enough to be transported in a vehicle or carried by a single soldier on foot.

Russian manufacturers assert that FPV drones currently possess several vulnerabilities that skilled radio electronics engineers can exploit, with the available tools tailored to suit varying usage conditions.

However, it’s crucial to grasp why FPV drones pose such a threat: this particular drone variant boasts a limited range (10-20 km under optimal conditions), exceptional maneuverability, and swift flight at low altitudes.

Drones operate using signals akin to those employed in 20th-century television broadcasting, rendering conventional radio and electronic warfare jamming systems—designed for larger, bulkier, and sophisticated weapons—less effective.

The cost of FPV drones is remarkably low, at approximately $500 per unit. Consequently, employing interceptor missiles, which are worth millions of dollars, to counter them is highly inefficient due to their diminutive size.

Publicly available information indicates that FPV drones typically transmit signals within the 5.8 GHz frequency band. Therefore, interfering with channels within this frequency range can disrupt the signals sent back to the operator.

Moreover, jamming the control signal, operating at either 1.2 GHz or 2.4 GHz, of an FPV drone is feasible, particularly if the jammer can precisely target the radio band in use, causing the drones to lose their intended targets.

Should the drone operator attempt to switch frequencies between bands, military-grade jammers possess the capability to extend coverage across all available frequencies.

Furthermore, as FPV drones rely on transmitter and receiver antennas for visual contact, physical impact could render them inoperative. Understanding these FPV drone characteristics, the development of Groza.04.K aims to exploit these weaknesses. However, the power consumption of Groza.04.K remains undisclosed.

Enhancing Groza.04.K’s operational continuity could be achieved by connecting the system to an uninterruptible power source instead of relying on batteries.

Additionally, the vast expanse of the Ukrainian battlefield necessitates an abundance of jammers with extensive coverage to effectively counter FPV drone threats.

Manufacturer of Groza.04.K:

Established in 1958, Kvant stands out as one of Russia’s foremost innovators and producers of ground-based electronic reconnaissance and electronic suppression systems.

Kvant boasts a diverse portfolio encompassing over 30 specialized military equipment types, including the 1L269 multifunctional mobile jamming module, Krasukha, and 1L267 Moscow-1 mobile radio electronic warfare system.

During the Soviet era, alongside manufacturing electronic warfare equipment, Kvant also developed a range of high-tech civilian products such as televisions and radio receivers.

Leveraging their expertise in 20th-century technology, Kvant’s engineers contributed to the creation of the new FPV UAV jammer.

As part of a larger network of Russian military radio electronics companies, Kvant’s parent company, KRET, develops jamming and radar systems, as well as small jamming systems for fighter aircraft like the Su-34 and Ka-52 helicopters. KRET also produces EW systems for cruise missiles such as the Kh-101 and Kh-102.

In 2018, following air attacks on Syria by the US, UK, and France, KRET engineers analyzed unexploded Tomahawk cruise missiles to aid in the development of electronic warfare systems.

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