Tactical Aviation Drones

Civilian drones are having a lethal impact in the Ukraine war

Ruddy Cano Avatar

A Bayraktar TB2 of the Ukrainian Air Force armed with MAM-L; two ground control stations are in the background

Many years ago when the drone hobby was emerging, it was clear drones had a military potential. What was not foreseen is that civilian grade drones would also make their impact on the modern battlefield. The Ukrainian war changed everything for Ukrainian civilians, and now drones are one of the biggest assets for the Ukrainian Defense Force. Drones have become a force multiplier for infantry forward observers.

Next Level Drone Warfare

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is heavily reliant on artillery and air support. Unmanned aircraft, also known as UAVs or, more frequently, drones, are present in massive numbers and varieties in the congested airspace of this battle, ranging from bomb-dropping octocopters and jetliners spy planes to kamikaze loitering missiles.

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Manned aircraft haven’t had much impact in this fight since defense systems, including mobile shoulder-launched munitions and long-range sensor-based weapons, have limited the number of missions. Drones have replaced planes for overhead surveillance and airstrikes that have effectively destroyed track vehicles. Some drones are increasingly being controlled independently by groups of ground forces and even by individual soldiers, who employ them as weaponry or to scout the battleground.

Anyone can buy these drones from the stores; the basic ones are usually labeled “made in China.” However, the CCP is aiding Russia by supplying intelligence on those same systems originally deployed by Ukraine. Due to this Ukraine has changed tactics by utilizing western technology instead. Since the Ukrainian forces do not have enough military drones to monitor the positions of Russian troops, they have improvised the basic civilian drone to do the job. Several videos have been shared depicting how the Russian forces are suffering losses because of these tiny unmanned aircraft.

Drones are just one element of modern combined arms, control over the air space is also critical for drones to operate with impunity. Russian drones that have taken to the skies face off with the latest anti-aircraft weaponry the west has designed. It is has become abundantly clear that Russia underestimate their enemy and overestimate their own strength. Lies through propaganda are not as effective when one is losing a war. At this current rate of attrition, the war is going to cost Russia millions of lives. Reconnaissance and logistics make or break an invasion.

Fortunately for Ukrainian Forces, the Russians are using fewer drones than their adversaries. This gives Ukraine an upper hand as they can monitor the adversary’s position and coordinate artillery to rain hell from above with impunity. The mobility of drones turns any open space into an airfield and any room into an operations center.

On the other hand, Ukrainian Forces depend on drones for most of their operations and the Russians adapted new standard operating procedures to help locate pilots. The most dangerous part of a scouting mission is take off and landing. When Russian forces mobilize for an attack, drone pilots can alert defenders with real time information. The Ukrainian army quickly shifts civilians from targeted villages to safe zones when this is detected and deployed their own counter attack forces. Drones are undeniably effective – even in the hands of a child – and they are a lethal asset to troops on the ground.