Ukraine war graduates to drone-on-drone battles

By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

Ukraine’s drone war is heating up as both sides find innovative ways to use drones to protect their troops and target enemies across largely gridlocked battle lines. It is a sign of how effective drones have been for Ukraine and Russia, and speaks to the continued investment to make them more useful and more frightening on the battlefield.

This week, video shared by Ukrainian ground forces showed a rather strange interaction between an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) near Avdiivka.

In the video, a Russian UGV is seen driving on a snowy road. Ukraine said the drone was delivering ammunition to a nearby Russian unit, a tactic that saves troops from going on a dangerous refueling mission.

Russian forces have been fighting in Avdiivka for months and are attempting a new offensive against Ukrainian defenses in the area. However, before the UGV can deliver ammunition to the Russian troops, an exploding Ukrainian drone appears out of nowhere, soars into the air, and crashes directly into the Russian drone, which immediately explodes. While there have been many other cases of drone-on-drone combat, this one highlights how dependent Russia and Ukraine have become on unmanned vehicles — in this case, using them as both a logistical tool and weapon.

Another recent video also underlines how drone warfare is developing during the war in Ukraine. On Friday, Nov. 15, footage of a Ukrainian UGV participating in de-mining operations was shared online.

In the video, the drone advances across a field, firing along a demining line charge that resembles a hose. The Russian-made device detonates mines nearby and along its route, saving individual bombers from the dangerous and difficult task of clearing an initially mine-free route.

Both cases — the drone battle in Avdiivka and the de-mining operation — are not necessarily so new, but instead indicate continued innovation and sophistication in the use of unmanned vehicles.

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