Russia uses a new 'laser weapon' in Ukraine to counter drones

With a range of 3 miles.
Ameya Paleja
Russia claims its laser weapon can strike down a drone in five secondsperdo emanuel pereira/iStock

Russia has claimed that it has deployed new-age laser weapons to counter drones supplied by Western powers in its ongoing 'special military operation' in Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Laser weapons are the next generation of weapons being developed by militaries to counter the increasing threat from drone swarms. When made using off-the-shelf components, drones are highly expendable and inexpensive to the field. Repurposing conventional weapons toward drones requires years of investment and carries high operational expenditure. Therefore, laser weapons are being developed since they can be easily deployed and cost next to nothing to fire.

Response to drones of war

Earlier in March, we reported how Ukraine was using re-deployable small drones hit targets up to 30 miles beyond Russian lines and breaking the supply lines. Additionally, the U.S. also agreed to supply the Ukrainian effort with 100 Switchblade drones. These drones can be fired like mortar shells and then directed by a controller to crash and explode at specific targets. 

Altogether the drones deployed in Ukraine seem to have been quite a headache for Russian advance, introducing a new weapon in the third month of the conflict. 

The laser weapon has been dubbed Zadira, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov told a local TV channel, Russian news agency Tass reported. While the specifics of the weapon are not known, the news about its deployment comes around four years after President Vladimir Putin unveiled a laser weapon, Reuters said in its report.

In 2018, Putin had mentioned a system called Peresvet aimed at blinding adversarial satellites as they hovered over 900 miles (1,500 km) away from the weapon system.

Claiming that the Peresvet had already been widely deployed, Borisov told the local media that Zadira was a more powerful version of the laser weapon system that could burn up drones and their equipment. He also cited a test that Borisov witnessed that involved burning a drone over three miles (5 km) away in a matter of just five seconds. 

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These weapons have started arriving at Russian outposts in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Russian news agency Tass reported. 

Ukraine mocks the weapon system

Responding to the Russian claim, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that this new Russian weapon was reminiscent of the 'wonder weapon' claim of the Nazis during World War II. 

Zelensky referred to the Wunderwaffe, a list of weapons that had outlandish designs and potentially devastating consequences on adversaries. However, as the war progressed, it became apparent that these 'Wonder Weapons' were nothing but the propaganda of the Nazi Germany information ministry that attempted to instill fear. 

In a video address, Zelensky said that Russia's attempt to field a wonder weapon in the third month of the war shows that their mission has been a completed failure, Reuters reported. Even as conflict has concentrated in eastern Ukraine from the multi-pronged attack in February, Russia has maintained that its operation is going as per plan. 

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