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Ukraine conflict: Ukrainian air defence employs passive sensors for detection and tracking

The Shahed 136 is of great concern for air-defence planners and industry since its debut in Ukraine in 2022. Skyfortress has developed a solution that can detect and track these loud and slow munitions without the use of active systems such as radars or electro-optical sensors. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images)

Representatives from Skyfortress – a Ukrainian non-governmental organisation – have disclosed details of work to develop and install an acoustic sensor network for the detection and tracking of aerial threats.

Speaking at SAE Media Group's Air and Missile Defence conference in London, the representatives said the Skyfortress detection and tracking system combines cheap and domestically designed passive sensors to detect, track, and classify airborne threats. It consists of an array of acoustic sensors that gather information and feed this into Ukraine's national air-defence command-and-control network, known as ‘Virazh'.

The deployment of thousands of sensors in areas close to the front lines in Ukraine began in the winter of 2022. Each sensor is housed in an approximately 30×30×5 cm box that includes a commercially available Android smartphone, which enables access to the internet via local mobile networks. The phone is switched on continuously and is used to record the surrounding environment in order to detect the sounds of incoming aerial targets.

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