The precision, mobility and low cost of employment of the Slinger should make it possible to relieve Ukrainian anti-drone defenses against Russian drones. The cannon clearly seems to be back on the battlefield as a viable economic solution from this perspective, but it remains to be seen whether it will not, in a decade, be replaced by much more modern weapons…
The cost of destroying a drone
The drone took a prominent place in the Russian invasion of Ukraine and particularly suicide drones. Russians and Ukrainians use all sorts of varieties of modified or specially designed drones to crash into a specific or undetermined target. The only safe and effective way to defend yourself against this threat is the pure and simple destruction of enemy drones. The only problem for the Ukrainians: the cost of this destruction. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have anti-aircraft missile systems of all types, including modern or latest generation systems. But the other side of the coin is the cost of the missile(s) fired against a drone which does not exceed $20,000!
It is with this in mind that the United States, as part of previous military aid, financed the delivery of 10 Slinger anti-drone systems. The 30 mm shells of this anti-drone system make it possible to destroy a drone for only a hundred dollars, or even 1,000 dollars. This lightweight system (less than 400 kg, ammunition included) does not require the use of a specific platform: the trunk of an off-road pick-up is enough!
The system in question includes:
- an EchoGuard active antenna radar (K-band, 120° azimuth, 80° elevation) developed and produced by Echodyne. It is capable of detecting a Phantom 4 type drone more than 1 kilometer away and Matrice 600 more than 1.4 kilometers away.
- a day (detection at 12 km, identification at 4.7 km)/night (detection at 13.7 km, identification at 4 km) electro-optical system. This part can move 360° independently of the axis of the barrel.
- a wind sensor.
- an M230LF cannon (30 mm, elevation from 70° to -10°) self-feeding from an ammunition rack.
- videos and images also show the possibility of adding an FN MAG 58 (7.62 mm) machine gun in addition to the 30 mm cannon.
A stabilizer allows the Slinger carrying vehicle to be able to move at low speed while maintaining sufficient precision to destroy drones.