Eight years ago, amateur drone enthusiasts started a reconnaissance unit in the Ukrainian army. Fast forward to the current war against Russia and they are playing a pivotal role. There was a lot of media attention focused on the 40-mile-long convoy of Russian armor and support vehicles that seemed inexplicably stuck on the road. More information is coming out now about drone operators from the Aerorozvidka Air reconnaissance unit and the part they played in halting the column.
Men from the unit snuck up on the convoy riding quad vehicles and proceeded to use drones to bomb the front of the convoy, successfully disabling the lead vehicles and halting the convoy. The assault team continued to harass the Russian troops, stymying their progress by attacking more vehicles and disrupting their supply chain. The unit’s low-tech approach is in stark contrast to the modern weapons flooding the battlefield.
The United States and its NATO partners have been sending high-end defensive weapons to the war. The US anti-tank Javelin missiles have been a bane on the existence of Russian tank commanders. The Javelin is lightweight. It can be carried and operated by a single soldier. These armaments have been responsible for many scenes like this:
Not to be outdone, the United Kingdom recently began supplying its Starstreak Man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) to the battlespace. It is more cumbersome than the Javelin system, but it has had an immediate impact on helping the Ukrainians control their airspace.
The combination of low-tech guerilla tactics and high-tech modern warfare has allowed Ukraine to defend itself against a much larger foe.
It is hard to know how long the Ukrainians can hold out, but they have lasted much longer than anyone expected. The entire world is starting to reevaluate the cost of armed conflict, given Russia’s losses.