Some analysts claim that drones have reshaped war, yielding not just tactical-level effects, but shaping operational and strategic outcomes as well.
- Some analysts claim that drones have reshaped war, yielding not just tactical-level effects, but shaping operational and strategic outcomes as well.
- It’s important to distinguish between these different levels of war.
- The strategic level of war relates to the way these military objectives combine to secure political aims, especially ending a war.
Drone warfare in Ukraine
- The drone war in Ukraine is evolving in ways that differ from how other countries, especially the United States, use UAVs.
- Unlike this pattern of “over-the-horizon” strikes, Ukraine and Russia use drones during an internationally recognized conflict that is bounded by their borders.
- Second, the U.S. operates armed and networked drones, such as the Reaper, the world’s most advanced drone.
- Ukraine has also operated Turkish-manufactured TB-2 Bayraktar drones – the “Toyota Corolla” of drones.
- It has also expanded the domestic production of drones, such as the Orion-10, used for surveillance, and the Lancet, used for attacks.
- Third, the U.S. uses drones to strike what it designates as high-value targets, including senior-level personnel in terrorist organizations.
- Ukraine and Russia use their drones for a broader set of tactical, operational and strategic purposes.
- Drones have had the biggest impact at the tactical level of war, which characterizes battles between Ukrainian and Russian forces.
- It did so by destroying slow-moving vehicles that stretched nearly 50 miles, causing Russia to abandon its advance.
- It also spoofs this link by creating a false signal that disorients Ukrainian drones, causing them to crash.
- This includes going “back to the future” by adopting terrain-based navigation, though this is less reliable than satellite-based navigation.
- Drones have been less successful at the operational level of war, which is designed to integrate battles into campaigns that achieve broader military objectives.
- In spring 2022, Ukraine used a TB-2, along with other capabilities, to sink Russia’s flagship ship — the Moskva — in the Black Sea.
- Since then, Ukrainian officials claim to have destroyed 15 additional Russian ships, as well as damaged 12 more.
- Drones have not, and are not likely to, shape the outcome of the war in Ukraine.
- They have not allowed Ukraine to break its stalemate with Russia, nor have they encouraged Russia to end its occupation of Ukraine.
- Russia and Ukraine use drones to terrorize each other’s citizens as well as generate propaganda to stiffen their own citizens’ resolve.
Paul Lushenko does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.