In the first months of the Russian-Ukrainian war, the Turkish Bayraktar drones equipped with the forces of Kiev were considered among the “wonder weapons” that changed the course of the war. The drone was, indisputably, along with other weapons systems, such as Javelin or Himars, one of the stars of the Ukrainian army and considered a formidable weapon used by the Ukrainians to destroy armored columns, ships of the Russian Navy or even helicopters. However, a year later, almost all of these “killer” drones have been shot down by the Russians, and the remaining ones are being used for reconnaissance missions, Insider reports.
In the spring and summer of 2022, after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Turkish-made drone was considered a real “savior of Ukraine” and was given as an example of what the “war of the future” will look like.
The many clips and video recordings in which Bayraktar drones directly hit Russian army vehicles or provided coordinates for indirect artillery strikes on Russian targets also contributed to this image.
A year later, most of the Ukrainian Bayraktar drones have been shot down by the Russians, and the remaining ones are used only in aerial reconnaissance missions. Bayrakatar drones currently operate out of range of Russian jamming systems and use modern optics and sensors to safely target other kamikaze or attack drones.
Western military experts admit that Russia has a “sophisticated” electronic warfare system
“The general idea is that such drones, like the Bayraktar, work very well if they are not dealing with sophisticated jamming and electronic warfare systems,” military expert Samuel Bendett told Insider.
As an unmanned vehicle that flies quite low and at a fairly low speed, it can become a target for well-developed anti-aircraft systems – we have already seen this happen in regions such as Libya or Nagorno-Karabakh.”
And Russia, according to military experts, has a sophisticated electronic warfare system.
While Moscow’s forces initially proved vulnerable to drone attacks in the first months of the war, the Russian military has since adapted and improved its electronic warfare tactics and is proving effective in shooting down or jamming many Ukrainian drones.
Kiev officials say Ukraine had received 50 Bayraktar drones before the invasion launched by the Russian military. The vast majority of them have now disappeared from the battlefield.
Ukrainians lose 10,000 drones a month. The Russians have a jamming or electronic warfare station every 10 kilometers of the front line
According to the commander of the Russian anti-aircraft forces, Lieutenant General Andrei Demin, the Russians destroyed more than 100 Ukrainian drones in April.
According to a detailed report by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), Russia ended up destroying/downing/disabling 10,000 Ukrainian drones per month – basically, the Ukrainians ended up losing an average of 300 drones a day , even though the vast majority of them are light, civilian drones.
“Russian warfare systems remain strong, with at least one such major system placed every 10 kilometers from the front line,” RUSI’s analysis says. These systems are positioned about 6-7 kilometers behind the front line and have the main mission of neutralizing Ukrainian drones,” the RUSI report also states.
Editor: Mihnea Lazar