Russia has embed light-beam eyes on the new Lancet drone update

The Russian military is embracing advanced Lancet kamikaze drones, enhanced with a supplementary camera unit and dual tandem warheads capable of piercing overhead protective shields and Explosive Reactive Armor [ERA]. The most recent Lancets also boast autonomous flight and automatic target recognition capabilities. 

Russia has embed light-beam eyes on the new Lancet drone update
Photo credit: Telegram

Featuring a tubular main body and unique wing root, this innovative variant has not gone unnoticed. The Ukrainian armed forces have acknowledged its potential threat, leading to ongoing discussions about technical and tactical approaches to mitigate its impact while the drone is in hover mode. 

Over recent months, there have been reports of upgraded Lancet versions with enhanced engines, warheads, ranges, and tracking and optical technologies. It seems, however, that not every new feature is incorporated into a single model. Instead, these developments appear across a variety of versions and production lots. 

Russian Lancet hit a Ukrainian Su-25 60 km behind the front line
Video screenshot

This adaptation implies that not all Russian Ground and Airborne Forces units may have identical drone variants at their disposal. The allocation of Lancets might be tailored based on the unique demands of specific Russian army groups and their respective regions [northeastern, eastern, southeastern, or southern] in Ukraine. 

The upgraded drones can surpass reactive armor anti-tank grids and anti-drone nets, challenging the defensive capabilities of Ukraine. Adaptive solutions that were used to trap and neutralize earlier models of Lancets, causing them to fail in their detonation targets, struggle to counteract these new drones. 

The light-beam eyes (laser eyes)

Ka-52 is no longer Leopard's biggest threat, the ZALA Lancet is
Video screenshots

As reported by the Russian Telegram channel ‘uav_tech,’ “A Lancet modification has emerged on the battlefront, complete with LIDAR systems. This allows the Lancet to explosively engage targets as it nears them, with its cumulative jet then penetrating the target’s armor. This greatly undermines the effectiveness of meshes and grids. Furthermore, Lancets now possess automatic target recognition, made possible through neural networks,” stated the report.  

The report’s final fragment pointed to an incident in mid-October, wherein Lancets demolished a Czech RM-70 Multiple Launch Rocket System [MLRS] and a DANA Self-Propelled Gun [SPG]. This event distinctly highlighted a green box within the Lancet’s nose camera targeting data. Rushing to conclusions, Russian ‘military bloggers’ theorized the drone might be using an automatic target identification tech coupled with a semi-self-reliant flight system–a correlation also drawn by the prominent Military Chronicles Telegram channel. 

Uav_tech’s mention of LIDAR could be a reference to Light Detection and Ranging, a technology primarily used for remote sensing that utilizes ultraviolet, visible, or near-infrared light to study the Earth’s surface. 

Why Russia uses Lancet-3 FPV against Leopard 2A6 - explained
Photo credit: Zala Aero

Even though initially developed for geographical mapping and ecological studies, the exact martial utility of the LIDAR technology remains ambiguous. However, a reasonable assumption can be made when considering the claim the Lancet can breach mesh shields and metal cages. 

LIDAR’s capacity to map various terrains and explore different layers of the Earth’s surface can also be extended to measure the target’s proximity using laser rangefinders and optical cameras. This is the case with the improved Lancet models. “They can detonate before connecting with the target, allowing the shaped charge jet resultant from the blast to traverse the remaining distance and engage the target,” said a Ukrainian source.

Lancet mutates into Izdelie 53, is made in a mall, production tripled
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Clearly, this implies the LIDAR could detect the metal cage/shield guarding a tank or artillery gun, subsequently programming the warhead. In this scenario, the main explosive would ignite after breaching the cage or shield. 

“The cumulative jet formed post-explosion traverses the final distance and strikes the target. This engineering breakthrough resolves the issues faced with anti-drone nets wherein previous drone models with shock detonators were often ensnared and rendered ineffective,” the Ukrainian source added.  

Interestingly, a recent image captured of a Lancet’s strike on a US-made Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle [IFV] illustrated two distinct explosions as the aircraft neared the tank – the first being distant from the Bradley while the second igniting upon impact. The impact and extent of damage inflicted on the Bradley are yet to be ascertained. But it’s clear that the technology in play easily outsmarts the anti-drone nets where older Lancet models often got entangled and were neutralized. 

Lancet mutates into Izdelie 53, is made in a mall, production tripled
Video screenshot

The Lancets EW

Countering Lancets calls for the potency of “powerful electronic warfare,” asserts the source. The operation of Lancets in your proximity can be discerned via radio frequency spectrum analyzers. Operated within the 900 MHz control range, specifically within 868-870 MHz and 902-928 MHz, Lancets and their accompanying scout produce two distinct peaks in a characteristic form. 

Featuring insights from expert Serhii Flesh, the report highlights an interesting aspect. Russia’s ground-based EW units do not shield Lancets, steering clear of potential disruption in their drone operation due to jamming. Ukrainians, noticing this pattern, conditioned themselves to anticipate Lancet attacks whenever the usual Russian jamming and EW ‘interference’ abruptly ceased. 

'Russian Bayraktar' - it is loitering Lancet that continues to reap
Photo credit: YouTube

Detailing the scenario, Serhiy explains, “There was continuous Russian interference at 1575 MHz until it suddenly wasn’t there. The drones were blind to the GPS, but then again they weren’t. This signaled to us to brace for Lancet.”


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