Seven (Initial) Drone Warfare Lessons from Ukraine
The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia has seen significant drone use on both sides. Ukraine has made extensive use of drones, from the Turkish-made Bayraktar TB-2 to hobbyist drones supporting civil resistance. Although evidence of Russian drone use early in the conflict was limited, Russia appears to have stepped up its efforts, employing systems like the Orlan-10 and the KUB-BLA loitering munition. Drones have been used in a wide variety of roles from carrying out strikes to guiding artillery and recording video that feeds directly into information operations.
The conflict offers at least seven initial lessons that should influence the thinking of US planners, policymakers, and military leaders about the future of the United States’ own drone capabilities. While the conflict is ongoing and some of these lessons may change, the basic points are general enough that even radical changes are likely to add nuance to these points, rather than rendering any of…