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Moscow to use barrage balloons to repel Ukrainian drone attacks

by Kateryna Hodunova July 7, 2024 1:28 PM 2 min read
Russian soldiers wearing a WWII-era Red Army winter uniform walk with barrage balloons as they take part in a rehearsal of a ceremony to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the 1941 parade at the Red Square in Moscow, on November 6, 2015. (Vasily Maximov/AFP via Getty Images)
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The Russian government plans to build a network of barrage balloons, called the "Barrier" protection system, to repel Ukrainian long-range drone strikes, The Telegraph reported on July 6.

Ukrainian forces regularly conduct drone strikes and sabotage acts on Russian territory, targeting military bases, oil refineries, and industrial facilities, the profits of which fuel Moscow's war efforts.

A Russian aerospace firm, First Airship, has developed a ballon prototype and started testing it, according to The Telegraph.

Polina Albek, the general director of First Airship, announced that her company had received its first orders for the balloons.

The balloons are reportedly capable of holding up a net that aims to protect energy infrastructure and other key targets deep inside Russia from Ukrainian strikes.

The balloons will be stationed in hangars. From there, they will rise quickly in a row and then drop a 250-m-tall net to create a defensive construction in the air.

Each balloon can reportedly rise 300 meters above the ground, carrying a maximum load of 30kg, which is enough to carry a light net, The Telegraph reported.

The aircraft can also be equipped with radar, electronic jammers, and video cameras, which provide 360-degree views and have a range of up to 7 miles (around 11 km).

"These capabilities allow for substantial vertical coverage, creating an effective barrier against low-flying drones that threaten sensitive locations. The drones cannot see the mesh net, it is too thin for them," Albek claimed.

Albek added that the balloon can be fitted with a "vacuum gun" to intercept drones, shooting an "ultra light and ultra strong" net at them.

Russia has already used air balloons in its war in Ukraine.

Ukraine's Air Force reported last year that the Russian military used reflective hot air balloons over Kyiv to confuse air defense before launching real missile and drone attacks.

Barrage balloons were used extensively in the First and Second World Wars as well.

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