Ukrainian military authorities on Saturday revealed to the press what they said is one of the most effective military units they have tasked with shooting down Russian drones.
Defending forces are using rapid reaction teams in off-road vehicles complete with machine guns mounted on the back and shoulder-fired missiles to eliminate their targets.
In groups of four, these soldiers are on a tight schedule, typically they have just 15 minutes’ notice before drones head their way.
The machine guns and stinger missiles used are supplied by Western allies. A local businessman found the trucks abroad and provided the funding to fix them up and make them battle ready.
Dima, a rapid reaction team driver, who wouldn’t give his last name for security reasons, said the key to the team’s success is its connection: “it’s the unity, we are working as one and effectively executing our tasks and our missions.”
Over time, the teams have built up intelligence on the usual flight paths of the drones and have found strategic parking spots that give them the best view of the sky.
Lieutenant General Serhii Nayev, Commander of the Joint Forces said the teams currently have an 80 per cent success rate for shooting down the Iran-supplied aircraft.
“During the last wave of drone attacks on Kyiv, this particular type of machine gun took them down,” said Nayev at the media event.
This method of shooting down drones has been so successful Nayev said he hopes more equipment will be supplied soon so that the programme can be expanded.
At the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and before partner countries could supply defending troops with modern weapons, the teams used WWII-era machine guns that the army still had in stock.