Russians are hunting the Ukrainian drone pilots destroying their tanks and firing everything they’ve got, if they pick up their electronic trail, operator says – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

Russians are hunting the Ukrainian drone pilots destroying their tanks and firing everything they’ve got, if they pick up their electronic trail, operator says

A Ukrainian serviceman launches a drone during a press tour in the Zhytomyr Region, northern Ukraine on September 20, 2023.

Kirill Chubotin / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Both Russia and Ukraine are increasingly using drones to attack their enemy’s equipment.These cheap but powerful drones have made their controllers prime targets, The Economist reported.  “The reality is that it’s extremely dangerous to be flying battlefield drones,” a commander said. 

Ukrainian and Russian reliance on cheap but powerful first-person-view drones in recent months has made their pilots prime targets beyond the frontlines.

Since spring, the battlefield in Ukraine has become increasingly littered with FPV drones flown by controllers who manipulate the vehicles in real-time while wearing video game-esque goggles and operating behind the frontlines.

The drones are inexpensive to manufacture but pack a powerful punch. Ukraine has racked up successes flying cheap drones over Russian equipment such as tanks and artillery and dropping explosives that result in millions of dollars of damage and soldier losses.

A Ukrainian drone pilot set a 22 km record in October for the distance to destroy a Russian tank, according to The Economist, operating from 18 km behind the front-line. The pilot’s commander told the outlet that the Russians have implemented a 10 km “no-tank zone” behind the front to better protect the equipment.

While Ukraine once had the edge in drone superiority, Russia has begun to catch up, producing more sophisticated and numerous drones, as well as ramping up its electronic warfare systems, which defend against Ukraine’s attacks.

Even though they frequently operate from behind the frontlines, the drone controllers often leave an electronic trace if they aren’t careful, which allows the enemy to pinpoint and follow them, The Economist reported this week.

“A lot of people want to become drone pilots because they think the work is further back and safer,” one front-line commander told the outlet. “The reality is that it’s extremely dangerous to be flying battlefield drones.”

“Hummer,” a commander in Ukraine’s 47th brigade operating along the Zaporizhia front, told The Economist the Russians fire with everything they’ve got as soon as they identify a target.

Russia has employed similar strike drones in Ukraine, but also uses high-precision artillery, mines, and glide bombs to take out the enemy, the outlet reported.

Ukraine has had to rely primarily on volunteers and donations to control and supply its drone stock 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 have destroyed multiple Bradley Fighting Vehicles and even a Leopard tank. An infantryman fighting between Robotyne and Verbove told the outlet that Ukrainian losses have significantly increased in part, because of Russia’s use of drones.

In addition to making drone pilots sought-after targets, the war’s reliance on drone warfare has also forced both sides to adapt in real time; equipment that can detect and defend against electronic warfare has become a necessity on the battlefield.

“If your cover is poor, then you are likely a dead man,” a drone pilot operating in the Zaporizhia province, told The Economist. “God, not physics, decides if you survive.”

Read the original article on Business Insider
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