Russia’s laser targeting system and laser-guided bombs have low efficacy, missing their targets

Russian drones that use lasers to identify targets in Ukraine are being frustrated by low clouds, according to British intelligence.

The UK Ministry of Defence’s intelligence update on Tuesday assessed the performance of drones that use lasers to spot targets for Russia’s 152mm Krasnopol-M2 artillery munitions.

It said Russia often used the lasers to “accurately target individual Ukrainian vehicles,” but it was struggling to operate them in low clouds.

“Low cloud has been the key limiting factor in the round’s performance because its laser detector does not have time to spot the laser energy and manoeuvre for striking.”

The 152mm shell has a warhead of more than 17 pounds and can hit a target more than 12 miles away, according to Russian news outlet TASS.

Russia will likely try to improve the system by boosting “Krasnopol’s flight performance and reduce the round’s laser detection time,” the UK update said.

And Russia has already announced that it will increase production of the 152mm munitions’ and improve how it performs in poor weather, it added.

How Russia can improve its munitions as winter weather sets in “will be one of the key factors in its operational performance in Ukraine,” it said.

Both Russia and Ukraine are boosting their domestic manufacturing of weapons and artillery.

Russia has been relying, in many cases, on decades-old equipment. Its ability to import new weapons and materials has been hampered by waves of sanctions by the UK, US, and EU over its invasion of Ukraine.

The country has started to ramp up domestic manufacturing, and a senior Estonian defense ministry official said in September that Russia’s production is seven times bigger than the West’s.

Ukraine is also trying to ramp up its own production of missiles, drones, and ammunition.

Ukraine has strong support from its allies, which include the US and European countries, and has been fighting with weapons from those countries as well as Soviet-era equipment that was already in the country before Russia launched its invasion in February 2022.

Experts say Ukraine’s efforts to fight back against Russia have been hampered by its allies not committing enough weapons and failing to send those they have committed on time.

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