Ukraine Credits Drone Swarms With Defeating Entire Columns of Russian Armor

The basics of battle being reported from the Ukraine war are like chapters right out of history. Small groups of Ukrainian volunteers on fast and light cycles (specifically “quads”, as in four-wheeled and motorized) are using forested flanking moves to attack the large slow-moving or stopped columns on paved roads.

Honchar describes these technological battles, and Aerorozvidka’s way of fighting, as the future of warfare, in which swarms of small teams networked together by mutual trust and advanced communications can overwhelm a bigger and more heavily armed adversary.

That sounds very much like warfare from the past to me (the sort of thing I was giving talks about at least 10 years ago, not least of all because I was working on swarm drones then).

Think about behavior of American soldiers marching as columns into guerrilla warfare lessons in 1898 Cuba.

Marching in column of fours we measured about a quarter of a mile in length: there being two hundred and fifty two rows with four or five feet between each. In passing a wagon or mud-puddle the column was forced to hault until the first four singled out and passed it; then forward four feet and stop while the next row of fours passed…

Perhaps worth noting here an important footnote in history about what helped the American military avoid defeat.

“If it hadn’t been for the black cavalry, the Rough Riders would have been exterminated.” Five black soldiers of the 10th Cavalry received the Medal of Honor and 25 other black soldiers were awarded the Certificate of Merit.

What’s novel and new in Ukraine is a a different footnote about airborne conflict.

…Aerorozvidka typically waits for the Russians turn off their jamming equipment to launch their own drones, and then it sends up its machines at the same time. The unit then concentrates its firepower on the electronic warfare vehicles.

The Russian defense system doesn’t allow Russia to attack, forcing it to be disabled.

Big oops for an offensive operation.

So when Russian defenses have to be lowered Ukrainians attack any systems that provide defense, much like if the Ukrainians were taking out anti-aircraft guns that stop firing when Russia tries to launch its own planes.

With Russian jamming and anti-aircraft systems destroyed, Russsian drone lessons from Syria are in question again as they leave their columns defenseless. Ukrainians can escalate their attacks, as I warned back in October 2019.

The following section on “gaps in electronic warfare shield” was particularly interesting as it emphasizes Russia’s current dependence (pun not intended) on primitive jamming systems and kinetic counter-measures.

The key point here being Russia doesn’t seem to have any air-to-air defenses in terms of drones (the sort of thing I’ve been talking about and working on for over a decade now) let alone an ability to learn and adapt from obvious mistakes. While Russians can slowly and manually locate drone launches the Ukrainian wheeled launchers (cycles) make forested evasion maneuvers a simple and effective form of obfuscation.

Or perhaps more to the point, Russia’s defense might even be destroying its own offense.

…sabotaging their own equipment and have even accidentally shot down one of their own aircraft, according to the head of Britain’s spy agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). […] Russia has lost 71 aircraft since February 24 (59 of which were destroyed)…

It all goes back to “lessons” I’ve pointed towards since before the start of the Ukraine war: military capabilities from corrupt puppets of a dictatorship (paper bears) are overestimated although still very dangerous to vulnerable populations.

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