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Monday, August, 8, 2022

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Ukrainian drones increasingly ineffective, Russia has a solution

Experts told Insider that the wonder drones are becoming increasingly ineffective as Russia has improved its defense systems and is shooting down and jamming many of Ukraine's drones.


In the early days of the war in Ukraine, drones emerged as an unexpected source of victory against Russian forces.

The success stories dominated much of the news, shown in multiple video clips widely distributed on social media and showing Ukrainian drones slowing the Russian advance.

Ukraine’s ad-hoc drone air force, from small consumer drones typically used for surveillance to the famous Turkish-designed Bayraktar TB2 drones, is credited with destroying Putin’s tanks and armored personnel carriers, Business Insider writes.

But Russia learned a lot from the humiliation in the first months of the invasion. Experts told Insider that the wonder drones are becoming increasingly ineffective as Russia has improved its defense systems and is shooting down and jamming many Ukrainian drones.

Also: Why did Russia invade Ukraine?

–  What is happening now is that Russian digital warfare and air defense have become better organized and better equipped compared to the earlier months of the war – said Samuel Bendet, an analyst and expert on unmanned and robotic military systems, at the Center for Naval Analysis.

Russian forces use early warning radars to identify drones and electronic warfare systems to jam and disrupt their communications, Bendet said.

Better organized ground air defense

They also use various weapons such as machine guns and air defense systems, such as the Tor missile system, to shoot down drones.

Recent footage from the Russian Ministry of Defense shows the Krasukha-S4 electronic warfare system in action, taking out a Ukrainian drone.

According to Mark Canciano, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Ukraine was previously able to use drones so effectively because Russia did not organize its defense systems.

–  Drones were able to play such a role because the Russians were slow to establish an air defense system. They were slow in establishing the combined arms operation that their doctrine required – he said.

Russia has better organized and positioned its ground air defense in the Donbass region, where the focus of the war has shifted.

Ukrainian forces are now limiting their use of drones because they are more easily thwarted by Russian troops, and the loss of drones can be costly.

While disposable drones like the Switchblade and Phoenix Ghost cost several thousand dollars each, TB2 drones can cost between one and two million dollars.

Ukraine has received about 50 TB2 drones from the Turkish arms company Baykar since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

Ruthlessly effective in the early days of the war, TB2s have begun to be shot down by Russia, and the Ukrainian military is reducing their use.

Recently, there have been reports that the US is planning to sell the US General Atomics MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones, which have greater capabilities than the TB2, to Ukraine.

Unmanned aerial vehicles

However, two unnamed Ukrainian air force pilots told The War Zone that they are not in favor of the drones because of their high $10 million price tag, as they are likely to be shot down on their first mission.

According to sources, Russia’s air defenses are almost entirely short-range, and medium-range missiles and drones are particularly vulnerable because they fly low and slow.

–  The Ukrainian pilots I spoke with say that because of this, the role of drones is now limited – he said.

Instead, Ukrainian forces pushed for modern fighter jets from their Western allies.

While Ukrainian drones are becoming less and less effective in this new phase of the war, Russia is using as many, if not more, of their drones, especially for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions – said expert Bendet.

The Ukrainians lack the weapons to shoot them down, and one soldier told The Sunday Times: “We can’t see the Russian drones, but they can see us. The only thing we can do is hide them.”

–  They are trying to trap Ukrainians in pockets around certain cities and towns and are just trying to suppress and shred the Ukrainian defense in general. Drones play a key role in providing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities to the Russians so that they can carry out attacks from the ground and from the air – said Bendet.

Also: Caliph of Islam Warns of Russia-Ukraine War Becoming a Global Conflict

–  So we will see drones on the Russian side, assuming the advance will probably be even more important, assuming the war continues as it is now.

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