Fingers lie on the buttons of the game console, rarely clicks the computer mouse. In the house of one of the villages of the Zaporozhye region, three guys of student years, sitting on the couch, look at a large monitor with a casual expression on their faces.

A reconnaissance drone is going to break through the air defense and electronic warfare zone. Now, at an altitude of several kilometers in the sunny sky, the drone, having turned off or muffled the transponders, is heading deep into Zaporozhye, into the territories that Kiev still controls.

Its task is to go unnoticed by powerful radars of anti-aircraft installations, which see even migratory geese, and for electronic intelligence antennas, which are trying to find the control channels of the device on the air.

The "crew" of the UAV calmly observes the views of nature under the wing of the device.

"The worst enemies of Ukrainian air defense"

"Now we are actually fighting with the most serious radio-electronic concerns in the world," Oleg Kolesnikov, one of the commanders of the Cascade, explains somewhat ironically.

  • Volunteer, one of the commanders of the detachment "Cascade" Oleg Kolesnikov
  • RT

Indeed, it is so relatively easy and quiet for a drone to pass through an invisible dome of protection, because the team of Cascade engineers has creative success, excitement and great efficiency.

The squad's drones are of its own design. A group of enthusiasts is constantly figuring out how to resist the largest military-industrial companies in the West, for which the steppes of the former Ukrainian SSR have become a testing ground.

However, sometimes the enemy uses the old proven classics inherited by the Armed Forces of Ukraine from the Soviet army. The calculations of the "Thor" or "Cube" complexes are also trying to shoot down a small airplane made of plywood and foam.

Anti-aircraft gunners hunt Cascade drones, not only to prevent them from conducting reconnaissance.

The fighters of the detachment are the worst enemies of the Ukrainian air defense.

Earlier, they tracked down four S-300 installations - the most powerful air defense systems of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

A river appears on the screen in front of the drone's combat crew, and then city streets. The actual exploration begins. The city on earth lives a normal life - cars and buses scurry along the roads, people walk in parks.

"Especially the Ukrainian military likes to hide headquarters in schools and kindergartens. Only around the building children ran, and you fly every other day - the pickups are already standing, "one of the members of the "crew" of the drone, Denis, explains that the drone pilots are studying so carefully.

The operator's gaze glides through the streets, squares and buildings, clings to the columns of trucks, to single peaceful-looking transport workers.

"Only in such people they carry ammunition, food or something to the position. We see that a branded car suddenly goes somewhere in the fields - yes, it means that they dragged something. Then it's a matter of technology: we track the routes where the track is rolled, and now our opponents hiding in the foliage have been discovered and are waiting for arrivals, "comments Denis.

To illustrate, he moves the cursor around one of the groves: there, even from a height of hundreds of meters, traces of treads are clearly visible.

The drone goes over gardens with small houses. "The private sector is fully occupied by the military, almost every house has a pickup truck. Civilians don't often take such a car," adds another crew member, Maxim.

Pilots and engineers in the "Cascade" came from the organization "Combat Brotherhood" and its youth movement "Volunteer Company". The guys from the reconnaissance crew now saw Izyum and Mariupol. They first came to help civilians, and after their stories went to the combat unit.

  • Drone operator at work
  • RT

The camera examines the places of arrivals - the results of the work of the "Tornado", the calculation reports on what they saw to the rocketeers, they are satisfied. The drone falls on the opposite course, today the "catch" is good: a picture of the consequences of strikes on the location of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and new data on the deployment of Ukrainian troops.

Maxim reads from the tablet the intercepts of our radio intelligence: "They tell each other that they have noticed us, but they cannot understand what it is. They have lively negotiations on the air, and correspondence in chats.

But the airplane is already leaving the sky over Zaporozhye. It is also impossible to hang for a long time: sometimes white clouds of explosions appear on the screen - live shells explode in the air, anti-aircraft gunners of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are trying to "get" the device.

"Looks like school modeling"

"We have experienced calculations, the guys have hundreds of sorties. Plus the network structure. If for some reason the connection with the drone is interrupted, it can be picked up by another calculation. Put your device on a circle so that it cuts circles at one point, take control of the "lost" and bring the board to the landing site, "Oleg Kolesnikov explains that there are enough emergency situations, the enemy's electronic warfare is constantly trying to drown out the channel or intercept control of the drone.

For the "Cascade", the enemy does not spare even HIMARS and hits them at the alleged headquarters and field airfields of the unit. "Once it flew nearby, tens of meters away, when we were already landing," Oleg says rather to himself, reminding him that you can never relax.

A lorry leaves the courtyard of the house - technicians and Oleg Kolesnikov go to the landing strip somewhere in the fields to meet the returning drone.

The commander of the detachment began to engage in business in the era of wild capitalism, in the 1990s, he was the owner of a pharmacy chain, poultry farms, development firms and much more. But instead of an MBA (Master of Business Administration) diploma, Kolesnikov graduated ... Academy of the General Staff.

"I didn't need a master's degree in business administration. I went through everything in practice, why should I listen to people who worked for hire from someone else? But the academy was interesting, especially strategic issues. Then they talked about the advancement of NATO, the contradictions that are accumulating and can lead to a clash ... To be honest, I couldn't believe it then, it seemed so far from reality. And now we see it ourselves, "the commander, tearing his hand away from the steering wheel, circles it around, as if inviting you to admire the country road, which has become front-line.

  • Fighters of the Cascade detachment load UAVs into a car
  • RT

A truck slows down at the edge of the field, technicians jump to the ground and peer intently into the sky. "It's flying!" - at the same time as they shout, they break away from their place in the beds. A common situation in aircraft modeling competitions is when adult men excitedly launch airplanes in order to then rush after them through ditches and potholes.

Only in this case, the "modelers" run, because this is prescribed by the very safety precautions written in blood.

It is necessary to quickly assemble the device, load it into the car and leave the runway in order to take off from another place next time. The device opens the parachute at a height of a couple of tens of meters and descends to arable land, the drone is quickly loaded into the car. A small airplane, a mortal danger to powerful military equipment, is placed in a microvan or lorry.

"It looks like school modeling," Kolesnikov laughs. - Only here there are two circles at once - also "radio amateurs". The airframe itself, the design, of course, are important, but even more important is the filling: avionics, software, tactics. How to build algorithms correctly, what frequencies to switch to, how to improve transmitters. We did it ourselves in the garage, on enthusiasm.

The truck abruptly takes off, moves out of the arable land and rushes along the country road in a different way, not the one it came. At these competitions with the military-industrial complex of the West, in which the "Cascade" participates, there is only the first place - victory. All other places are defeat and death.