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NATO should adopt Ukraine's experience in developing drones, RUSI believes

24 April, 2024 Wednesday
15:56

For drones to be effective on the battlefield, it is important to be able to adapt quickly, as modern realities require

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Defense Express information and consulting company writes about this.

Ukraine has learned how to quickly create software for its unmanned aerial vehicles, and this is an important conclusion for every NATO country, according to Jack Watling, a senior researcher at RUSI (Royal United Services Institute). According to him, Ukrainian specialists are able to adapt to "keep combat drones effective," and this is critical especially when the enemy shoots down UAVs and analyzes them to adapt their countermeasures to certain technologies.

Otherwise, if the necessary changes are not made in time, the enemy can collect enough information to successfully counter these drones within six to twelve weeks, USNI News quotes one of the documents. At the same time, the publication notes that one of the disadvantages for Ukraine is the scale - compared to the volumes that the Russian defense industry can afford. At the same time, the enemy faces "a much slower development and implementation process."

But first and foremost, Watling emphasizes that NATO member states' militaries cannot make such "lightning-fast" changes to UAVs either - in particular, he recalls the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia in 2020, where Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones played a significant role in destroying Armenian weapons and military equipment. "If you don't prepare [for countering drones from surveillance to direct strikes], it will be bad for you," he notes.

It is noted that the problem with NATO is that the Alliance "treats them like airplanes, and the standards for airplanes are quite strict" in the context of training, operation and maintenance. This is due to several different reasons, but primarily for safety reasons on the ground and in the air.

According to Watling, each change requires recertification, but the lengthy processes of each iteration will negatively impact the effectiveness of UAVs during possible combat operations. He believes that the drone industry should reconsider this practice, given that NATO will need drones on the battlefield in the future that can be quickly adapted to different realities.

In his article "Massive Precision Strike," co-authored with Justin Bronk, he notes that in general, the effectiveness of UAVs on the battlefield depends on their interaction with artillery, electronic warfare, air defense systems, and other weapons: "UAVs can redistribute the balance of tasks performed by different systems, but they do not eliminate the need for traditional artillery."

It is also noted that the same "massive precision strikes" should be controlled by special formations, which should significantly increase efficiency through skilled mission planning. Therefore, it makes sense to concentrate the work of drones if they are part of a "massive precision strike complex."

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