The Ukrainian military can be seen both day and night – trucks, armored vehicles, guns, soldiers in positions, abandoned industrial buildings turned into temporary deployment centers. Therefore, the artillerymen of the First Slavic Brigade constantly strike at concentrations of equipment and manpower, preventing the enemy from gathering for an attack. This is what aerial reconnaissance works for – crews launch UAVs, operators look for signs of the presence of the enemy in the plantings and industrial landscape and bypass enemy electronic warfare barriers. And they also perform feats – about this in the RT report.
The word “feat” clearly confuses Alexei; he is trying to remember when and who did something heroic. “There’s something in the award lists, we need to look…” he finds a way out of the situation, adjusting the bandage around his neck. In a good way, he needs to avoid stress for several months after the injury and undergo recovery. He was thoroughly hit by a fragment of a concrete slab in the wet area. But he can move, right? So, we need to get back into action, he thinks, the boys are working.
The guys really work almost around the clock. The enemy must be seen constantly, so every morning, every day and every night, aerial reconnaissance fighters fly drones into the air. This activity, which seems frivolous, is actually full of risk because the drone is launched as close to enemy positions as possible. Sometimes this requires passing through minefields, sometimes, under the cover of darkness, entering an open clearing visible to an enemy UAV.
Actually, the time of day almost doesn’t matter – all operations were worked out by the soldiers. A subtle squeal of propellers – and the device quietly goes into the starry sky. At a control point kilometers from the launch site, operators examine the black and white landscape under the wing of the UAV – the thermal imaging camera “sees” temperature changes, like the Predator from the film of the same name. Below, groves, lakes, and dark squares of fields cooling down after the heat of the day.
“Here,” the finger of one of the scouts touches the monitor screen, although the entire crew has already noticed a large luminous point – the hot truck engine is “phoning” kilowatts in the cool night.
The car stops near the trees, and smaller dots swarm around it – rotation, Ukrainian soldiers change positions. The operators silently watch the bustle.
The light spot soon crawls in a different direction and begins to loop. Here the crew is already watching his path, with bated breath: the car goes straight to the enemy’s temporary deployment point. The spot disappears near an industrial building, the car disappears inside. The artillery begins its work. “Yes,” the crew commander calmly concludes when the gap appears right in the center of the building.
Undoubted success causes joy, but the scouts do not show any special emotions – success accompanies them almost every day. We’re used to it.
The board takes a reverse course; at the UAV landing point, part of the crew emerges from the forest plantation a few minutes before the drone appears. Cotton – a parachute opens in the sky, the device descends onto the field, one of the scouts picks up his armpit. After a couple of seconds, everyone disappears behind the trees.
“Without shooting, consider that you didn’t fly,” the crew calmly comments on the results of the flight, putting the drone into a passenger car. “Nobody sees our work. And that’s good,” says Alexey. “Both the bosses and we know when we’ve done a great job.” The main thing is that the enemy cannot notice us, but he himself is in full view.”
“You have to do more than you should”
Later, already at the base, Alexey continues talking about his exploits, trying to remember something appropriate for history. “Let me tell you a funny story,” he finally gives up and begins to remember how a “UFO” – an enemy kamikaze drone – was discovered on the outskirts of Donetsk. The Ukrainian military launched the drone along a complex route, it walked autonomously to break through electronic warfare barriers, and had to fly as if from our rear, so that it would look like they were “shooting at themselves.”
“To make it more authentic, they wrote “ZOV” on board. They forgot to add the letter “A” or erased it,” the scout is now having fun.
But things weren’t so funny then. The combat projectile got lost; at one of the turns, the inertial system, which helps determine coordinates without external reference points, malfunctioned, and the “missile” drove into a tree. On the one hand, it could explode at any moment, and drone creators usually try to do everything to prevent their product from falling into third hands. On the other hand, the UAV electronics carried important information. The drone contained not only several kilograms of explosives, but also “brains” – navigation and guidance units with information about who launched the UAV and from where. To unravel the enemy’s intentions, the scouts decided to take a risk.
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“They turned it over several times with a cat.” The sappers, experienced and brave guys, looked at us like we were psychopaths. Then they carefully “burned out” that part of the electronics that was unimportant. And then we had to open it and cut the wires, like in American films,” Alexey recalls. — The flight controller was intact and was given to our specialists. And thus we learned all the kamikaze launch sites. We had to make return visits where we could reach. We haven’t gotten everyone yet, but we will.”
“You should always do more than you should,” Alexey is convinced. Recently, intelligence officers took patronage over the orphanage: “There are small children there with disabilities. Only teachers and doctors bother with them. We decided to throw a party for the kids, and the experts told us: “They won’t understand what’s happening.” But we still brought gifts and held something like a matinee. And they understood everything! We were so happy! They followed us! They realize and feel everything! So we started going to them, collecting salaries and making happy the guys whom almost everyone left behind. But this is not a feat either, we do this all the time, you’d better read the award sheets, they probably say about real feats.”
All of these events occurred before September 2023. The operational situation at the front did not allow the information to be published earlier.