Both Russia and Ukraine are increasingly using drones to attack their enemies’ equipment.
These cheap but powerful drones have made their controllers prime targets, The Economist reported.
“The reality is that flying battlefield drones is extremely dangerous,” one commander said.
Ukrainian and Russian Dependence on cheap but powerful first-person view drones has made its pilots preferred targets beyond the front in recent months.
Since the spring, the battlefield in Ukraine has been increasingly littered with FPV drones, flown by controllers who manipulate the vehicles in real time while wearing video game goggles and operating behind the front lines.
The drones are inexpensive to produce but pack a powerful punch. Ukraine has had success flying over cheap drones Russian equipment such as tanks and artillery and dropping explosives causing millions of dollars in damages and Soldier losses.
Accordingly, a Ukrainian drone pilot set a 22 km record for the distance to destroy a Russian tank in October The Economist, operating 18 km behind the front line. The pilot’s commander told the outlet that the Russians had set up a 10km “no-tank zone” behind the front line to better protect equipment.
While Ukraine once led the way in drone superiority, Russia has begun to catch up. Producing more sophisticated and numerous dronesas well as Expansion of its electronic warfare systems, who defend themselves against attacks from Ukraine.
Although they often operate behind the front lines, drone controllers often leave an electronic trail if they’re not careful, allowing the enemy to locate and track them, The Economist reported this week.
“Many people want to become drone pilots because they think the work is further back and safer,” a frontline commander told the outlet. “The reality is that flying battlefield drones is extremely dangerous.”
“Hummer,” a commander of Ukraine’s 47th Brigade operating on the Zaporizhzhia front, told The Economist that the Russians fire with all their might once they identify a target.
Russia has used similar attack drones in Ukraine, but also uses high-precision artillery, mines and glide bombs to take out the enemy, the outlet reported.
Ukraine has relied primarily on volunteers and donations to control and maintain its drone inventory, while Russia has easier access to more expensive reconnaissance drones, allowing the country to increasingly attack Ukrainian positions near the front lines in recent months.
The Economist reported that Russian FPV drones destroyed several Bradley Fighting Vehicles and even a Leopard tank. An infantryman who fought between Robotyne and Verbove told the outlet that Ukrainian losses increased significantly in part due to Russia’s use of drones.
The war’s reliance on drone warfare has not only made drone pilots desirable targets, but has also forced both sides to adapt in real time; Devices that can detect and Defense against electronic warfare has become a necessity on the battlefield.
“If your cover is bad, you are probably a dead man,” a drone pilot working in Zaporizhzhia province told The Economist. “God, not physics, decides whether you survive.”
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