Militias battling Myanmar’s military junta have been applying the lessons learned from Ukraine about deftly using small drones against a larger and far-better-equipped army and have now also increased their odds of completing aerial strikes by cracking the army’s UAV jamming tech.
As Global Defense Corp reported earlier this year, the federation of armed groups resisting military rule imposed in Myanmar after the 2021 coup has increased their procurement and deployment of drones in battling regular army units across the country. According to a story compiled by Radio Free Asia from information directly supplied by those militias, rebel units carried out an estimated 642 UAV attacks on junta soldiers in 2022 and have increased that rate of offense activity as their success in defeating Chinese-made jamming systems has risen.
The report did not contain details on how Myanmar militias had cracked junta counter-UAV tech, but it did say those assets were made up largely of Drone Guard equipment. It also quoted a commander of rebel UAV unit Cloud Wings named Ko Nyein, who said strikes were increasing in number, sophistication, and success due in part to beating enemy jammers.
“Our drones can now carry heavier payloads, fly higher and further, and penetrate the junta’s jammers,” RFA quoted him saying. “We now can use our drones widely in many military columns across Myanmar.”
Using both quadcopters and fixed-wing drones – frequently built or maintained by Myanmar’s rebels themselves – resistance units have also improved their munitions release systems and pilot accuracy to inflict greater damage per mission against enemy forces. That mirrored the evolution of repurposed or homemade UAV deployment in Ukraine’s defense, with similar developments in better engaging hostile craft and beating jamming efforts.
“We are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of (the junta’s) drones and can now take them down,” Ko Nyein told RFA. “Because we know the frequency of their jammers, it is no longer difficult for us at all to penetrate them across the country.”
Indeed, Myanmar rebel drone operations have become so reliable in accomplishing objectives that their very success is now posing a similar problem Ukraine has faced: financing the high prices of munitions dropped.
“If we talk about the main difficulty we face, it is the cost of the bombs,” Ko Nyein said.
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