Geek-inclined volunteers to Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s invasion won’t be limited to piloting repurposed consumer UAVs anymore, thanks to a new app allowing anybody in the country to provide craft and position information on attack drones and missiles that aerial defense forces can use to neutralize those threats.
Word of Ukraine’s anti-drone app circulated this week as the nation’s main cities suffered repeated missile strikes and deadly attacks by Russia’s Iranian-made Shaheed-136 loitering UAVs. Ruthless use of the munitions on civilian centers provoked outrage around the world, and threats from European and American leaders of additional sanctions against the two nations – not to mention promises of millions of dollars in additional military assistance to Kyiv.
Ukraine’s tech-heads didn’t have the time to wait for extra anti-air systems or further economic penalties to undermine the renewed Russian violence from the skies. So they instead created the Eppo app (aka eAir Defense Observer) that potentially makes every citizen a drone-zapping, enemy aircraft spotter.
For the moment, the anti-drone app is only available on the Google play store in Android format, though Ukraine coders are working hard on an iOS version as well.
The product page lists over 100,000 downloads since the app recently became available, and serenades visitors with lyrical prose about the beautiful and peaceful skies of Ukraine before urging readers to procure and use the app to rid the heavens of the invader’s deadly craft.
“We are able to help our defenders almost instantly. How to do it? Easy!” the download page reads. “If you have noticed something suspicious in our beautiful, blue sky – a rocket, helicopter, plane, drone, or heard similar sounds of the flight of these devices, or the sounds of explosions – IMMEDIATELY notify our air defense forces using eAir Defense Observer! The sky of Ukraine is free, it is ours to every molecule, it is with us forever!!! Together we are strong, together to victory!!!”
According to somewhat less exclamation-heavy descriptions, Ukraine’s new drone and missile reporting app provides users a basic visual guide differentiating various kinds of attacking Russian aircraft. After tapping an on-screen icon of the identified vehicle, spotters point their phone at the craft’s position, then send the coordinates that air defense forces use to locate and – whenever possible – destroy it.
Whether a coincidence or reflection of the app’s effectiveness, the official Defense of Ukraine organization reported that yesterday alone it had taken out a considerable number of the Iranian drones that have been doing some of the worst damage since aerial strikes of the nation’s cities surged last week.
Foreign backers of Ukraine’s battle against Russia’s brutal invasion can download the new drone-hunting app, but won’t be able to test it from abroad. To work it requires interfacing with Ukraine’s Diila platform, which enables the exchange of digital documents and data between smartphones and web-based systems in the country.