Why drones are extremely important to counter the Russians

As the War enters 3rd year with Russia in ascendancy the Armed Forces of Ukraine are confronting a bleak reality: they’re running out of soldiers and ammunition to resist their Russian invaders.

Michael Kofman, a senior fellow and Russian military specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington-based think-tank, estimated that Russia’s artillery was firing at five times the rate of Ukraine’s.

“Ukraine is not getting a sufficient amount of artillery ammunition to meet its minimum defensive needs, and this is not a sustainable situation moving forward,” Kofman added.

On the cusp of the second anniversary of its Feb. 24 invasion, Vladimir Putin’s Russia is in the ascendancy in a conflict that combines attritional trench combat reminiscent of World War One with high-tech drone warfare that’s sending tens of thousands of machines into the skies above.


Conventional warplanes are a relatively rare sight over the frontlines, largely because air defences act as a deterrent. Yet a different battle is raging in the skies, with both sides striving for the upper hand in drone technology.

Drones – or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – are cheap to produce and can surveil enemy movements and drop ordnance with pinpoint accuracy.

The scale is astonishing.

On the Ukrainian side alone, more than 300,000 drones were ordered from producers last year and more than 100,000 sent to the front, digital minister Mykhailo Fedorov told.

A strong focus now is on light, nimble FPV drones, where operators, or pilots, get a first-person view from an onboard camera. President Zelenskiy has set a target for Ukraine to produce one million FPV drones this year in light of the battlefield advantages delivered by the technology.

Due to the lack of conventional ammunition, Ukrainians are forced to rely more and more on small kamikaze drones. Drones have also forced the Russians to move valuable vehicles and weapons systems back by several kilometres, according to two Ukrainian drone pilots in different units.  They helped to destroy a large part of the equipment used by the Russians in the attacks and numerous attempts to storm the Ukrainian position.

An equally important role is played by reconnaissance drones, which help such Western systems as Himars to target and inflict high-precision damage in the enemy’s close rear.

The last case demonstrated the effectiveness of Himars by a strike on a lined up Russian infantry formation  in the Oleshky forest area of the Kherson region.

Himars by a strike on a lined up Russian infantry formation  in the Oleshky forest
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