Many commentators and experts today compare the drones that attacked Moscow and the Moscow region with the Israeli kamikaze drones of the Harop family. It's hard for me to argue and be convincing in terms of theoretical justifications and analysis made remotely - let's leave this area to experts, but I remember very well the convincing emotions that Harop swooping at you evokes in practice. I will try to convey them and talk about what it means for an ordinary mortal to face a UAV attack of this type directly on the ground, in the field of direct armed confrontation.
I first heard about Harop drones in the summer of 2020, during the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Even before Baku tried to completely conquer the disputed (from the point of view of the international community) Artsakh in September of the same year. In July 2020, I had a chance to witness how the operation in the Tavush region of Armenia was completed. The battles were for the mountain height of Karadash, and then the victory favored Yerevan. At the same time, for the first time during all the conflicts in the South Caucasus, drones played an active role in the course of hostilities. The Azerbaijani Armed Forces at that time were not so fatly equipped with the notorious Bayraktar, but the Israeli Harops were used - only on the way.
This is not to say that their use was somehow too effective. Armenian air defense forces snapped a notable number of Israeli "birds".
I remember visiting an exhibition of unmanned debris organized by the Ministry of Defense in Yerevan - it was impressive.
At that time, social networks in their military and near-military segments were full of critical calculations about the effectiveness of Israeli unmanned weapons. It should be noted that instead of pathetic denials, the company that produces Harop carefully studied its mistakes, did not disdain even to build communication with the most notorious critic bloggers (this all happened in the public sphere), and, judging by the further development of events, carried out serious work on the mistakes.
Some two months later, when the second Karabakh war was raging with might and main, the drones of the Harop family were much less vulnerable to Armenian air defense and played one of the leading roles in breaking through the defense and destroying the military infrastructure of the Artsakh army. I remember well how, on the second day of the war, I almost fell victim to an Israeli kamikaze drone in the vicinity of Martakert. Together with my brother-military commander Sasha Kots, after a long search, we reached the Armenian artillery position, we were supposed to be waiting there, but by the time we arrived, it was already broken and empty. The personnel were evacuated with injuries.
We were alone - broken guns and a couple of reporters with an escort in a tourist minivan.
As soon as we sat back into the wheelbarrow, quickly snapping off the consequences of the blow, and began to move, a nasty diving sound was heard through the open windows, which I will not confuse with anything now. At the very last moment, when it seemed that the drone was about to crash into our car, the sound began to move back just as sharply.
Apparently, the operator of the kamikaze UAV identified us, in a gray tourist minivan, as a non-priority target. But in general, I will never forget this feeling of utter helplessness (then we did not realize that we had to throw ourselves out of the wheelbarrow scattered).
Later, when we became a target again, this time in Stepanakert, we acted more thoughtfully. You can dodge Harop if you are not a static entity. And the Armenian air defense forces, after adjustment and adjustment, already at the end of the conflict lasting 44 days, again learned to counteract them.
However, the specificity of these machines (and the manufacturer!) is that they are able to adapt and upgrade to circumstances. Today, we must never forget that.
The author's point of view may not coincide with the position of the editorial board.