Drone specialists in the US speculated that the drones that crashed over the Kremlin on Wednesday may have been launched from within Russia given their ability to avoid several defences in and around Moscow.
On Wednesday, Russia asserted that Ukraine had used drones to strike the Kremlin in Moscow with the intention of killing President Vladimir Putin. The press secretary for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denied any involvement in the attack on the Kremlin and stated that they were unaware of the “so-called night attacks on the Kremlin”.
A video of a flying object nearing the dome of the Senate building in the Kremlin, which looks out over Red Square and the Victory Day parade, was among the first to be posted on the Telegram channel Baza, which has ties to Russian police enforcement. Before it reached the vast crimson stronghold, it erupted into smoke and flames.
The origin of the drones built to fly to a location and detonate is being sought after by governments and open source intelligence specialists.
Moscow has been very concerned about protecting the Kremlin from drones since at least 2015, when it started using electronic countermeasures to automatically direct them away by “spoofing” GPS locations, according to Dana Goward, president of the nonprofit Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation, which advocates for tougher and redundant GPS.
According to a news source, “spoofing” happens when a fake GPS signal is sent to replace a real one, electronically tricking guiding systems on drones or other devices.
The drones used, in Goward’s opinion, were medium-sized and “was likely not using GPS but was either manually controlled – suggesting a nearby launch – or just pointed and set upon a path, kamikaze style.”
It is challenging to avoid detection while travelling a great distance.
The fact that the drones were able to fly across Moscow undetected surprised Blake Resnick, another drone expert and the founder and CEO of drone manufacturer BRINC.
Resnick added, “It’s amazing that this drone managed to fly over the entirety of Moscow and up to the Kremlin without being found and destroyed.
“The relatively small size and low altitude could help. If the drone was not utilizing GPS and not communicating with a ground control station, that would also harden it from jamming or spoofing techniques,” Resnick said.
According to Goward, the Kremlin possesses a variety of close-defense systems based on radar and visual detection that can defend it from drones and even missiles by using projectiles like bullets and explosives.
According to drone specialist Dan Gettinger of the Vertical Flight Society, “Of all the types of one-way attack drones, the aircraft used in this instance appears to have been a fixed-wing aircraft and among the larger one-way attack drones currently in use or development.”
There are a few larger military drones that can travel more than 400 km that are currently being developed or used internationally. A number of countries, including China, India, Taiwan, and Ukraine, manufacture drones of this size and power, according to Gettinger.
According to Gettinger, who on Thursday published a paper on one-way attack drones, there would be a much higher number of aircraft capable of carrying out this strike if the aircraft was launched from within Russia.
Mykhailo Podolyak, Zelenskyy’s top advisor, asserted on Thursday that Russia had “staged” the alleged drone attack. He referenced “simultaneous video from different angles” that appeared to show the aftermath of the purported 2.30 am incident and the delay in Russian official media reporting it.
Zelenskyy disputed the claim that the alleged drone attack was carried out by Ukrainian forces. The Kremlin threatened vague punishment for what it described as a “terrorist” attack, while pro-Kremlin individuals demanded the murder of prominent Ukrainian officials.