The advanced Russian electronic warfare (EW) system Navodchik-2 was reliably spotted for the first time in the occupied part of Luhansk Oblast, 12 km from the front line. The system includes seven unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) of the Granat family of various modifications with ranges of 10, 15, 25 and 100 km. The system is designed to perform reconnaissance and special tasks, in particular, to provide targeting coordinates for barrel artillery and multiple rocket launch systems (MLRS) on the battalion level.
The first text report (without photos) about the sighting of the ground control station of the Navodchik-2 system appeared in the OSCE SMM report No. 272/2020 dated November 14, 2020. It said that according to the updated data of the mission, the type of equipment, which had been indicated in the OSCE SMM report No. 268/2020 of November 10 as “the RB-341V Leer-3 electronic warfare system,” was later identified as a UAV control station of the Navodchik-2 system following a more detailed analysis.
InformNapalm volunteer intelligence community has received visual confirmation of this text report. The photo taken by the OSCE UAV undeniably confirms that the newest Russian system Navodchik-2 is actually deployed in the Donbas. Three boxes for storing and transporting of the UAVs were also seen near the control station.
This information is an important supplement to the multilingual evidence base compiled by InformNapalm listing Russian military hardware actively used in the Donbas.
Navodchik-2 and RB-341V Leer-3
It is important to note that unlike the Navodchik-2, which was recorded for the first time in the Donbas, the Russian RB-341V Leer-3 system which includes three Orlan-10 UAVs, had already been repeatedly spotted in the combat zone in the east of Ukraine. It has also been featured in InformNapalm’s OSINT investigations since 2015, and from 2018 to 2020 it began to frequently appear in the OSCE SMM reports. This type of equipment was also included in the InformNapalm report with the evidence of the presence of Russian troops in the Donbas, which was presented by the Ukrainian parliamentary delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Istanbul in 2016, as well as at other international events organised by PACE and OSCE from 2016 to 2019. Publications about the deployment of RB-341V Leer-3 in the occupied Donbas with reference to InformNapalm investigations were also published by the Associated Press and in the German tabloid Bild. Therefore, the presence of this system has been well established and entered into the evidence base.
As for the Navodchik-2 system, it was mentioned in reports from the Donbas war zone only once in April 2017, when a Granat-1 UAV, which is part of this system, was detected in use near the Svitlodarsk bulge. However, the detection of this type of UAV could not be regarded as conclusive evidence for the deployment of the whole system, as these UAVs are also capable of operating separately. For example in 2015, InformNapalm established the use of the Granat-1 and Granat-2 UAVs by the units of the Russian occupation forces in the Donbas. In addition, photographic evidence was found with geolocated to the territory of the Kuzminskiy training range of the Rostov Oblast of the Russian Federation, indicating that back in December 2014, the Russian Ministry of Defence trained the militants to operate the Granat-2 UAV.
Considering that the OSCE observers made an error in their first identification of this Russian equipment, we thought it important to emphasise a characteristic feature of the Navodchik-2 system. It is mounted on a KamAZ-4350 truck chassis (four-wheel drive), while the RB-341V Leer-3 system is mounted on the KamAZ-5350 chassis (six-wheel drive).
Before the Donbas, Russia actively used the Navodchik-2 at the 102nd Military Base in Armenia
Navodchik-2 entered service with the Russian Army in 2014. It was immediately deployed to Armenia at the Russian 102nd Military Base in the city of Gyumri. Since then, any reports about the use of this system both in the Russian media and on the official website of the Russian Ministry of Defence concerned mainly only Armenia. This system was also mentioned several times in the context of exercises on the territory of the 4th Military Base of the Russian occupation forces deployed in the Tskhinvali region of Georgia.
The system consists of:
- a ground control station;
- UAVs of the Granat-1, Granat-2, Granat-3 and Granat-4 types (there are seven UAVs in the system).
This article contains unique and important data, evidence of the ongoing covert military activity of the Russian Federation in the occupied part of the Ukrainian Donbas. The military aggression began in the spring of 2014 and it continues in 2020, whereas Russian military command and political leadership continue to deny Russia’s direct participation and control of the hostilities.
InformNapalm volunteer intelligence community calls on the expert, journalistic and diplomatic community, as well as on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, to actively use the data from the OSCE SMM reports and the materials of open-source intelligence (OSINT) investigations of InformNapalm volunteers to step up diplomatic pressure on the aggressor state and strengthen the sanctions and other political measures that will help achieve a real peace, which is only possible after the full withdrawal of Russian weaponry, military equipment, servicemen and mercenaries from Ukraine.
Information source: InformNapalm