Electronic warfare systems deployed by russians along the line of contact in Ukraine are a serious threat and a nuisance for the Ukrainian forces, especially to drone operators. That is why Ukrainian defense companies have come up with startup solutions to counter russian jammers and signal intelligence systems.
One of the products of this effort is the ETER system created by Falcons private company. Defense Express talked with the company's co-founder and marketing director Svitlana Braslavska about this project.
An ETER system is a setup of three direction finders purposed to locate devices emitting radio signals. The targets are enemy communication assets, relays, jamming systems, and unmanned aerial vehicles.
The direction finders are united in a network. Specialized software processes the data and transmits the results to the system operator and to the headquarters. If needed, a kit of three antennas can be broadened to a wider network; the standard setup is not carved in stone, and each customer had his particular setup discussed and adjusted on request.
For example, there is an option for small highly mobile groups of soldiers who operate in the "gray zone" without vehicles, or there are stationary alternatives, or kits that could be easily installed on top of armored vehicles.
Braslavska says, her company initially had an idea of an aircraft-based direction finder:
"It was this project that brought the Falcons team victory at the first Drone Hackathon in 2022 but, once we talked to the military servicemen, we realized they first of all need identical ground-based systems, so our team switched over to creating exactly this variant while leaving the aerial version for future iterations."
She noted that the soldiers who use the ETER system on the frontline provide them with all sort of feedback:
"There are servicemen who want to receive new functions as soon as possible, and there are those who are satisfied with the versions available; there are already those who are waiting for their systems to come back from repairs after damage suffered on the frontline. For us, the most valuable assessment will be once we reach the point when we can properly calculate the conversion of located targets into destroyed [targets]."
The whole development process, from draft to first successful real combat application, took five months, the company representative stated. Now Falcons are working on several orders for the Ukrainian Defense Forces, sponsored by mostly private enterprises and charity funds.
"Simultaneously, we are trying to get an acceptance certificate. Although the state has simplified the path to an official supply of military equipment to the Ukrainian Defense Forces – established clusters such as Brave1 that help young companies walk the road to [technology] adoption faster, find funding and partners – but doing all of that is still not easy," Braslavska explained.
Read more about the technologies developed under auspices of Brave1, in coverage by Defense Express
Some of the challenges faced by the ETER system developers are lack of funding, scaling up of production, importing of components, certification process etc.
"Everything moves toward automation, so while walking down this path we have to keep up with the requirements of modern warfare and balance them with old-fashioned requirements and bureaucratic norms," the Falcons official pointed out.
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