Russia has developed a new kind of 'sleeper' drone called the 'Joker'

According to TASS, Russia has developed a new "Joker" drone that can remain dormant for long periods before being activated remotely.
Christopher McFadden
The drones can strike without warning.
The drones can strike without warning.

Getty Images 

Russia has unveiled a new drone called the "Joker," that can sleep or hibernate for long periods before attacking, according to Russian news outlet TASS. Designed to hide from electronic countermeasures, the "Joker" drone could be placed in preparation for attack hours, days, or weeks before its operator wakes it to unleash death from above.

The report, originally posted in Russian (and Google Translated for our report), also explains how the drone could prove pivotal in Ukraine.

Sleeping killer drones

"A tool for hibernating FPV drones of the Joker line and its top model, Ultimatum, was developed and implemented at the Central Design Bureau. A drone with a hibernator can take a position for an attack and [hibernate] for several weeks. On the air, a sleeping drone does not manifest itself in any way." Dmitry Kuzyakin (director general of the Center for Integrated Unmanned Solutions) explained to TASS.

"As a rule, dominant heights, roofs of buildings, or other high structures are selected. When the time comes, he does not need to overcome the distance for the target. The drone is already in place, and [it needs] to turn on and attack," he added.

Kuzyakin also explained that using the hibernation tool can reduce the time required to prepare the device for an attack, “Flying time is saved. A few seconds pass between turning on the drone and attacking, which leaves no chance of launching countermeasure systems. One FPV pilot can place, then 'wake up' and sequentially apply up to 15 'sleeping' drones."

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has seen increasing use of drones on the battlefield, and the "Joker" drone is a natural progression of that trend. At present, the skies of Ukraine are filled with unmanned aerial vehicles, which both sides use to identify targets with the aid of low-cost commercial drones.

Recently, Ukraine successfully defended against an attack by Shahed-136 drones, loitering munitions made by Iran and purchased by Russia. Due to Western sanctions, Russia faces challenges in producing its munitions, hence the reliance on Iranian-made drones.

There are also reports that Russian authorities have deployed Orlan-10 unmanned aerial vehicles to gather intelligence and disrupt communication networks in Ukraine.

These drones are manufactured by a company based in Saint Petersburg and are exclusively used by the Russian military. The Orlan-10 has a smooth design, making it difficult to detect. It can be launched and landed using a catapult and a parachute.

Drone revolution imminent

"We are on the verge of an FPV revolution in armaments. Now, in a situation of a stable front, the scenarios that we see in Telegram channels are most in demand: attacks on enemy strongholds and hunting for armored vehicles. But if you look at the FPV tool wider and improve functionality, you can get ahead of the enemy not only in the technology itself but also in the scenarios of its application," Kuzyakin added.

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