Geopolitics Military Affairs Strategy & Defence

Usage of Drones in the War in Ukraine

Tomáš Iliev

Drones, or UAVs, were often considered weapons of the future. Before the two world wars in the 20th century, the Austrian forces used the predecessors of drones when the exploding balloons were used to attack Venice in 1849. In the First and Second World Wars, drones never played a role so significant that they would be regarded as the game changers. We can trace their first more extensive deployment back to the Vietnam War, followed by the conflicts in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. After the war in Vietnam, Britain and the United States intensified their development of drones. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, after 9/11 primarily, their usage increased significantly as their technical, operational, and combat abilities developed immensely. Without drones, much valuable information on a battlefield would never be known. UAVs can operate in areas where the deployment of regular troops would be too risky. Their importance for military reconnaissance is indispensable (Carr and Keane 2013).

Moreover, without drones, many valuable targets would never be eliminated. Although drones are considered the weapons of modern warfare, their history is longer than one would expect. Their development goes back to the First World War. Now, more than one hundred years later, drones and their progress have come a long way. Since the beginning of the Russian aggression in Ukraine, the role of drones has grown significantly to the point where drones and the efficiency of their usage decide the success on the battlefields of eastern Ukraine. How many drones have already been used in the war? How have UAVs been used since the start of the war? Have there been any significant adjustments in the usage of drones since the beginning of the war? Are Ukrainian drones more efficient? This paper tries to answer these questions and prove that without drones, neither Ukrainians nor Russians could lead the ongoing war. 

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