Ukraine's own "unmanned AWACS," the Gekata airborne system for electronic intelligence is currently being tested by the manufacturer, Infozahyst Research and Production Center. The company's CEO Yaroslav Kalinin shared with Defense Express how the development progress is going.
According to Kalinin, they are now carrying out internal tests with a prototype inside the company, with limited application for solving practical tasks.
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"We have taken off the ground and, let's say, are gaining altitude in this project. Just like every test prototype, it has first problems noticed, some necessity to get enhanced," the Infozahyst's director said.
When asked, how long it will take until Gekata will begin locating russian air defense systems on Ukraine's borders and beyond, Kalinin replied that the first results are already present, though he noted they were brought not by a complete system but a particular unit. As he explained, there must be at least several Gekata drones at a time and an established chain of data exchange for successful missions:
"First signals were received, processed, and now we are working on increasing the capacity to provide a solution to the entire situational awareness chain, from offering the coordinates of enemy on-ground stations in real time to flexibility in planning the operations for weapons of strike," Kalinin said.
On a reminder note from Defense Express, Infozahyst announced their Gekata UAV-based ELINT complex entered a new stage of development in August 2023. The company was preparing to integrate the ELINT payload into the PD-2 unmanned aerial vehicle made by UkrSpecSystems.
Yaroslav Kalinin assured that all the necessary tests for real combat application of Gekata would be completed by the end of 2023.
The Gekata system has been in development since at least 2021 when it was first presented to the public. The system performed its first flight in December 2021, marking the beginning of airborne tests.
The system is designed to cover a whole variety of needs of Ukrainian forces on the frontline and has been updated since the beginning of the russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine to better meet these needs, including spotting and locating russian radars, electronic warfare systems, air defense systems, and aircraft.
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