Drones Could Help Ukraine Level the Playing Field in the Donbas
Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region is flat, open, and streaked with cloudy skies, terrain that Western officials believe has already limited Russia from carrying out the withering air and missile strikes that characterized the first two months of the war in Ukraine. And as the battlefield shifts east, drones are becoming a dominant—if not the dominant—feature of the conflict, former U.S. officials and experts told Foreign Policy.
With persistent clouds likely to make flying Russian and Ukrainian fighter jets out of missile range more difficult, both sides are turning to a two-pronged drone strategy: using cheap, off-the-shelf drones to keep a watchful eye in the sky and to flag targets for artillery to take out tanks. Experts believe the U.S. provision of hundreds of kamikaze-like loitering drones that can hunt targets for hours before dropping down to detonate a deadly munition, complemented by a fleet of drones that can be bought off the internet as low-cost eyes in the…