“While Ukraine once had the edge in drone superiority, Russia has begun to catch up, producing more sophisticated and numerous drones, as well as ramping up its electronic warfare systems, which defend against Ukraine’s attacks.
Even though they frequently operate from behind the frontlines, the drone controllers often leave an electronic trace if they aren’t careful, which allows the enemy to pinpoint and follow them, The Economist reported this week.
“A lot of people want to become drone pilots because they think the work is further back and safer,” one front-line commander told the outlet. “The reality is that it’s extremely dangerous to be flying battlefield drones.”
“Hummer,” a commander in Ukraine’s 47th brigade operating along the Zaporizhia front, told The Economist the Russians fire with everything they’ve got as soon as they identify a target.
Russia has employed similar strike drones in Ukraine, but also uses high-precision artillery, mines, and glide bombs to take out the enemy, the outlet reported.
Ukraine has had to rely primarily on volunteers and donations to control and supply its drone stock while Russia has easier access to more expensive reconnaissance drones, allowing the country to increasingly attack Ukrainian positions near the front lines in recent months.
The Economist reported that Russian FPV drones have destroyed multiple Bradley Fighting Vehicles and even a Leopard tank. An infantryman fighting between Robotyne and Verbove told the outlet that Ukrainian losses have significantly increased in part, because of Russia’s use of drones.
In addition to making drone pilots sought-after targets, the war’s reliance on drone warfare has also forced both sides to adapt in real time; equipment that can detect and defend against electronic warfare has become a necessity on the battlefield.
“If your cover is poor, then you are likely a dead man,” a drone pilot operating in the Zaporizhia province, told The Economist. “God, not physics, decides if you survive.””
” A U.S. Air Force officer helping to spearhead the service’s work on artificial intelligence and machine learning says that a simulated test saw a drone attack its human controllers after deciding on its own that they were getting in the way of its mission. The anecdote, which sounds like it was pulled straight from the Terminator franchise, was shared as an example of the critical need to build trust when it comes to advanced autonomous weapon systems, something the Air Force has highlighted in the past. This also comes amid a broader surge in concerns about the potentially dangerous impacts of artificial intelligence and related technologies.”
“In January, when an undersea telecommunications cable connecting this far-flung Arctic archipelago to mainland Norway and the rest of Europe was damaged, Norwegian officials called to port the only fishing vessel for miles, a Russian trawler. Police in the northern city of Tromsø interviewed the crew and carried out an investigation into the incident, which was seen as a major threat to the security of Norway and other nations, including the United States. Had there not been a back-up cable, the damage would have severed internet to the world’s largest satellite relay, one that connects the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA and other government agencies from around the world to real-time space surveillance.
The investigation’s findings were inconclusive, if worrisome. Something “man-made” had damaged the cable, but Norwegian police could not prove the Russian fishing vessel was responsible, authorities told me. The police allowed the fishing boat crew to return to their ship and set back out to sea.”
“today, this Arctic desert is rapidly becoming the center of a new conflict. The vast sea ice that covers the Arctic Ocean is melting rapidly due to climate change, losing 13 percent per decade — a rate that experts say could make the Arctic ice-free in the summer as soon as 2035. Already, the thaw has created new shipping lanes, opened existing seasonal lanes for more of the year and provided more opportunities for natural resource extraction. Nations are now vying for military and commercial control over this newly accessible territory — competition that has only gotten more intense since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
“For the past two decades, Russia has been dominating this fight for the Arctic, building up its fleet of nuclear-capable icebreakers, ships and submarines, developing more mining and oil well operations along its 15,000 miles of Arctic coastline, racing to capture control of the new “Northern Sea Route” or “Transpolar Sea Route” which could begin to open up by 2035, and courting non-Arctic nations to help fund those endeavors.
At the same time, America is playing catch-up in a climate where it has little experience and capabilities. The U.S. government and military seems to be awakening to the threats of climate change and Russian dominance of the Arctic — recently issuing a National Strategy for the Arctic Region and a report on how climate change impacts American military bases, opening a consulate in Nuuk, Greenland, and appointing this year an ambassador-at-large for the Arctic region within the State Department and a deputy assistant secretary of defense for Arctic and Global Resilience. America’s European allies, too, have been rethinking homeland security, increasing national defense budgets and security around critical energy infrastructure in the Arctic as they aim to boost their defense capabilities and rely less on American assistance.
But 17 Arctic watchers — including Norwegian diplomats, State Department analysts and national security experts focusing on the Arctic — said they fear that the U.S. and Europe won’t be able to maintain a grip on the region’s energy resources and diplomacy as Russia places more civilian and military infrastructure across the Arctic, threatening the economic development and national security of the seven other nations whose sovereign land sits within the Arctic Circle.”
“In Norway’s High North, a term used to describe the Norwegian Arctic territories, no fewer than seven Russian citizens have been detained over the last few months for flying drones, prohibited under the same bans for Russian airlines in European airspace. The drones were discovered flying near areas of critical infrastructure. One of those arrested in October was Andrey Yakunin, 47, the son of Vladimir Yakunin, the former president of Russian Railways and an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who was sanctioned by the State Department after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.”