scorecardAn Australian 'drone killer' air defense system could make it much cheaper for Ukraine to shoot Russian drones out of the sky
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An Australian 'drone killer' air defense system could make it much cheaper for Ukraine to shoot Russian drones out of the sky

Mia Jankowicz   

An Australian 'drone killer' air defense system could make it much cheaper for Ukraine to shoot Russian drones out of the sky
LifeInternational2 min read
  • An Australian-made anti-drone gun called the Slinger is heading to Ukraine.
  • At around $1,000 a shot, it is meant to make shooting down Russian drones vastly cheaper.

An Australian defense company has developed a new weapon dubbed the "drone killer" that could help Ukraine face Russia's suicide drone barrages at a low cost.

The lightweight Slinger 30mm cannon can take down drones at a distance of nearly half a mile away, according to its maker, Electro Optic Systems.

The weapon can be mounted on a truck and operated with a joystick and a screen, Australia's ABC News reported. Ten of them have been included in a US aid package to Ukraine and should be there by the end of the year, per ABC.

"It's very quick and easy to learn," EOS test engineer Charlotte Capper told the outlet. "You don't have to know much about the technology. It's easy to see what each thing does and how it does it."

Russia has regularly bombarded Ukrainian targets, both military and civilian, with loitering munitions such as the Iranian-made Shahed-136.

It also ramped up production this fall, and a massive future expansion of its drone attacks is predicted, as Insider's Jake Epstein reported. That's a particular concern into the winter, where Russia will likely be hoping to take out Ukrainian energy networks in a repeat of the winter of 2022.

Ukraine regularly intercepts large numbers of drones with the help of Western air-defense systems, but it's an expensive activity that arguably favors Russia.

It can cost millions of dollars to take out a drone that cost between $20-30,000, draining Ukraine's resources even when it stops a strike. The US-supplied NASAM missile system, sent to Ukraine last winter, costs around $500,000 to fire.

"Sometimes those missiles cost millions," Ukraine's ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko said, per ABC. "And you hit the drones, which cost $20,000, right? And it's all about the cost."

The Slinger could cut that price tag dramatically. According to ABC, the cost of shooting down a drone with it is estimated to be between $100 and $1,000.

EOS is also developing a laser-based anti-drone system, named Titanis, which in a recent demonstration took out quadcopter drones at a distance of more than 3,000 feet, Australian Defense Magazine reported.




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