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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: a legion of domestic drones seeks to capture war crimes

When one thinks of warfare and drones, one thinks of sophisticated aircraft manned by soldiers. This is becoming a reality in the war between Ukraine and Russia. But Ukraine is also full of consumer dronesnot prepared for war scenarios, which are serving multiple purposes on both sides.

So much so that the main producer of consumer drones, DJI, banned their sales to the two countries. The argument is that the company opposes its military use. In a statement they assure that it does not allow modifications of its products to carry weapons. Nor will it cover repairs in its technical service of drones used in conflicts.

But the truth is that the sky of the Ukraine is full of this kind of devices. The military can locate targets with them or search for their own soldiers. Civilians can use them to document the war, find out about nearby troop movements and anything else that the imagination and this class of devices allow.

Let’s not forget that many consumer drones are usually very light, with little autonomy and are also likely to be easily intercepted with systems that prevent their flight. It is even possible to locate who is operating the drone.

An image taken from a drone shows the destruction after Russian attacks in Mariupol, Ukraine. Photo: REUTERS

In fact, DJI’s decision to withdraw the sale of its drones from these two countries is due to the fact that Russia has been using equipment from this Chinese company that allows drone operators to be located.

double edged sword

DJI Aeroscope is a system that was initially developed to maintain the security of infrastructures, such as airports, but in the midst of war it can be used as a double-edged sword.

Apparently Russia would be using a version of Aeroscope acquired in Syria, a country where civilian drones have also been used in conflict, to prevent their use by the Ukrainian army and by civilians in that country.

But DJI is far from the only manufacturer of civilian drones. In fact, Ukraine received donations of other models. Like the Evo II Pro, which has a powerful camera capable of recording quality images even at night.

These drones can be crucial in capturing images of war crimes that may be taking place in the conflict.

Ukrainian policemen inspect the remains of a drone in northern kyiv, in a picture from late March.  Photo: AFP

Ukrainian policemen inspect the remains of a drone in northern kyiv, in a picture from late March. Photo: AFP

This is possible thanks to the one-inch-size image sensor, which can capture images at up to ISO 12,800.

Sufficient light sensitivity even for capturing images at night. In addition, this drone allows you to capture videos and photos with a 6K resolution. more than enough for achieve a significant level of detail even from a height of several kilometers. Which makes it ideal for not being detected easily. For even if we have it over our heads we would not be able to see it.

Russian troops have also reportedly received drones donated by Russian civilians. As it is not clear that Ukraine has a detection system similar to the one used by Russia, these drones can be operated by Russian troops.

coverage of the war

But not only the Russian and Ukrainian military and civilians are using drones. Journalists displaced to the conflict also use them frequently. The networks are full of recordings of this type. But there is some risk that they will be identified. Not only because of some kind of technology, but because many of these drones do not allow flying at a great distance from the operator.

Therefore, in the event that a drone of this type is sighted, the area can be combed looking for who is piloting it. It should also be borne in mind that many drones, in the event of being shot down, the operator loses the images or may only have some low resolution images.

The memory in which these are stored is normally in the drone itself. This is important, because in the event that the drone is shot down and its memory is not damaged, the images contained in it could give clues as to where the drone is being operated and by whom.

Source: The Vanguard

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