Anti Drone Stuff

Firing at the drone from the shoulder at LKT 2023. The soldier in the background with the red flag is the range officer. Army/Tentera Darat.

SHAH ALAM: As part of the Latihan Kuasa Tembakan/Firepower Exercise (LKT) 2023 at Kem Sirajuddin in Gemas on July 18, the Army showed how it will tackle drones in operations when its air defence units were not available. Something that will happen frequently as its air defence units are small and sparsely equipped.

The demonstration showed that the Army intend to fire on drones with any weapon available from the M4 Carbines, FN Minimi and FN MAG light machine guns as well as the M2 .50 calibre machine gun and the M134D Gatling gun. For the demo only the machine guns were employed though. The M2 machine gun and the M134 Gatling gun were mounted on the Vamtac gun carrier and the Lipan Bara armoured vehicles, respectively.

PDRM anti-drone team operating at Istana Negara . PDRM

To be honest, they should rely on the vehicle mounted guns only for the demonstration. The problem with using the Minimi and MAG light machine guns against drones are that they are almost impossible to control when firing fully automatic from the shoulder ( of course in real operations soldiers are expected to fire at the enemy drones with what-ever weapons on hand). Furthermore, at the demo, the troops are not equipped with the dedicated anti-aircraft/drone tripods which the air defence troops have, which at least give shooters a stable platform to fire from.

At LKT 2023, MAG users – two soldiers each – fired from their weapons off the shoulder of one of them (as shown from the main picture). The Minimi shooters, also two teams of two soldiers fired their weapons fired from the knees.

From the video footage of the firing, it is unclear whether the drone, painted bright orange was hit before it crashed into the ground. It was trailing red smoke before the crash probably to indicate it was hit. You can watch the video below and make up your mind.

The then Army chief General Zamrose Mohd Zain firing a GPMG at a drone at Eks Panah Jaguh 2022 using a dedicated anti-aircraft/drone tripod. TD picture

The anti-aircraft/drone tripod was demonstrated by the Army during the Panah Jaguh Exercise in 2022. Perhaps, the Army was showing their current anti-drone capability to the powers-that-be so they could get the allocation for the proper equipment to deal with the menace.

— Malaysian Defenmce

If you like this post, buy me an espresso. Paypal Payment

Share
About Marhalim Abas 2141 Articles
Shah Alam

13 Comments

  1. Nothing wrong with experimenting with how to take down drones using shouldered mg. It’s an exercise after all they’re allowed to try and see what works and what not.

    If you look at recent russian/ukrainian conflict and even Iraqi-ISIS conflict before that these cheap drones often look for target of opportunities (not necessarily HVT) before taking potshots to weaken morale of the guys on the front line . Having an actual tripod, let alone vehicle mounted MG isn’t always an option so it’s logical to develop a way, a SOP if you will, to repel these drones with whatever you have at hand

  2. “Perhaps, the Army was showing their current anti-drone capability to the powers-that-be so they could get the allocation for the proper equipment to deal with the menace.”

    If the person in powers can even see it in the first place.

  3. The army is doing what it can with what it has. The problem with such is that it’s not effective against “swarms” or against UASs at a certain height and range. On top of that engaging a zig zagging target moving away from you and one flying towards you [i.e. loitering munition] presents different challenges.

    There also has to be a soft kill means; i.e. handheld jammers distributed to platoon level.

    Another important element is early warning; both passive and non passive devices. Early warning is everything. There is also the window of opportunity; in an open space there would be a larger window of opportunity compared to say an urban area where a UAS would be shielded by buildings.

    We don’t live in an ideal world but if we did a dedicated vehicle AD variant armed with a radar, IR sensor; 30mm gun [a smaller calibre rounds lacks the range] and a jammer is the way to go.

  4. Agree with your last para

    If thats all we have, next 5 minutes or less artillery shells will rain down on those anti drone teams

  5. Shooting at a static target from the shoulder using a machine gun does not work, let alone firing something flying around.

  6. One thing to note there are 2 ways to take down drones; softkill and hardkill. The PDRM unit shown is using softkill equipment while TDM are physically shooting down the drones, now using hardkill approach is a terrible idea in urban environments as bullets will be sprayed everywhere and it might hurt/kill innocents. In that sense, PDRM managed to argue their case to acquire dedicated drone killing gear, I guess there is less resistance when one reasons is to protect the King or PM, so TDM will have to find a good justifiable reason to get the same.

  7. Hasnan – “If thats all we have, next 5 minutes or less artillery shells will rain down on those anti drone teams”

    Does this make sense?

    So, if we have a layered and integrated AD network which is widely distributed then we won’t have the situation where “next 5 minutes or less artillery shells will rain down on those anti drone teams”? How do you do explain the fact that after a year and half into the conflict the Ukrainians have large numbers of Triple A, jammers and other means but are still faced with an acute UAV problem? How do you do explain the fact that despite having very effective EW which has had a major impact on Ukrainian UASs [as well as GPSs on HIMARs and other things]; the Russians are still in some areas unable to fully cope with the UAS threat?

    At the end of the day the army is a peacetime one which is short of resources and does not face an immediate UAS threat. There is only so much it can do and on paper it has already taken the right steps by recognising the UAS threat and seeing how existing assets can cope with it; as well as buying jammers; albeit in small numbers.

    Sure UASs pose a threat but so do aircraft, missiles, attack helicopters, armour, EW, cyber threats and other things.

    Dundun – “it’s logical to develop a way, a SOP if you will, to repel these drones with whatever you have at hand”

    As far back as 5-6 years ago [as reported by Monch] GAPU announced that it was looking at ways to deal with the UAS threat.

    Let’s also not forget that there is no singular UAS threat.
    Could be a medium level UAS which is easily targeted by MANPADs; could be a single micro UAS flying at tree top level providing a small window of opportunity for engagement and has a minimal RCS and IR signature [might not be detected say by a TRS-3D but might by a smaller purpose built sensor]
    or it could be a swarm of 15 UASs intended to saturate one’s defences …

    Dundun – “Nothing wrong with experimenting with how to take down drones using shouldered mg”

    Is it “experimenting” or the army doing what it can with what it has? Since you mentioned the Ukraine how many of the thousands of UASs lost have been brought by small arms? Even realise how hard it is to hit a small fast moving object using iron sights? Hitting a static object is hard; never mind one moving and one does not aim at the object but where it’s going to be because it’s moving; i.e. deflection shooting at performed by fighters or even straight running torps. The target also has to be at the right altitude and height for it to be engaged.

    Dundun – “If you look at recent russian/ukrainian conflict and even Iraqi-ISIS conflict before that these cheap drones often look for target of opportunities”

    We saw this in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and other places. Even insurgents in Myanmar have tried with makeshift systems

  8. Pity the soldier volunteering the shoulder. Hope he has enough ear protection. Doesnt this go back to the discussion on whether the Army ought to invest in mobile Air Defence platforms that could be redployed quickly or employed more tactically? Like an AD Gempita (or a lighter Avenger type platform)?

  9. No, it doesn’t as the soldier is basically part of the regular army which is mostly on foot. An AD vehicle, whatever vehicle type, will still be part of GAPU unless we bought them in such numbers that it can be parcel out to every other unit. Even then as seen in Ukraine, light units mostly has to do their own AD work.

  10. Should GAPU still exist or parceled out to be organically embedded to units?

    My thoughts is, individual sections should have an organic ‘light AD’ where they could handle flying objects at very short range or very light ones (ie battlefield drones), while GAPU are equipped with ‘heavier’ drone/plane/flying objects killing gear which could temporarily parcel for attachment to operational units. Something like dedicated mobile AAA to take out missiles, manned aircraft, MALE & HALE UAVs and static base/FOB anti air defence.

  11. @Azlan

    Russia jams 10k Ukrainian drones a month. Therefore, its impossible to shoot even 1k a month using machine guns. At least mke the effort of showing a more effective solution. I saw that there were a lot of foreign military personnels at the LKT. Must be an ongoing joke now.

  12. ”One thing to note there are 2 ways to take down drones; softkill and hardkill.”

    As I alluded to …

    Of late the vast majority of Ukrainian losses have been to EW. In contrast with the beginning stages of the conflict Russia EW is very effective. We also saw the effects of EW on UASs in Libya.

  13. Hasnan – ”Therefore, its impossible to shoot even 1k a month using machine guns. At least mke the effort of showing a more effective solution.”

    Read what I wrote and make an effort to understand [you are able?] what was written before hitting the keyboard and coming up with erroneous things which take up space. Who said it was ideal?

    Hasnan – ”At least mke the effort of showing a more effective solution.”

    As I said the army is doing what I can with what it has. Not hard to understand… What ”effort” do you expect it to make if it doesn’t have the hardware yet? Nonsense…

    Hasnan – ”saw that there were a lot of foreign military personnels at the LKT. Must be an ongoing joke now.

    To you no doubt but in reality no…. All armies have various means of doing things even if some are less than ideal. Are you suggesting the army not do anything until it gets the great it needs? Are you suggesting that it’s totally impossible – even if hard and less than ideal – to down a low flying UAS with a GPMG? There is footage of U.S. troops in Syria firing at IS UASs with rifles – a joke?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*