The Ukrainian weapon that frustrates Putin: This is Zelensky’s “destroyer of caravans.”

The most advanced weapon of the Ukrainian army is extremely clumsy: slow, flying low and completely defenseless. When the Russian invasion began, many experts estimated that few UAVs in the Ukrainian army would be shot down by Putin’s army within hours. Not only are they still flying, but they are also intercepting Russian-guided missiles, tanks and equipment trains, according to Pentagon officials.

These drones have become the mainstays of the war mine, they symbolize the astonishing resilience of the Ukrainian army and also – one of the big problems the Russian army encounters in this round of fighting.

Turkish UAV in the service of Ukraine: Beiractar TB2 (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

“The performance of the Russian military so far has been staggering,” said David Deftula, a former senior U.S. Air Force general who planned, among other things, the attacks on U.S. military aircraft in Afghanistan in 2001 and the Persian Gulf in 1991. On aerial superiority was also reflected in their slow and awkward actions on the ground. In contrast, the Ukrainian Air Force is performing much better than expected. It also affected national morale across the country. The Ukrainian people sang songs about the Biraktar, and even called Lemur, who was born at the Kiev Zoo, named after the Turkish UAV.

A senior Pentagon official confirmed that Ukrainian forces had successfully used Birakhtar in several attacks on a number of Russian convoys of equipment en route to Kiev. The UAVs were also used, among other things, for intelligence and targeting missions for the ground forces of the Ukrainian army.

Prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Biractar TB2 was already in its final days in terms of operational capability. The winged drone is about 12 meters long, is made up in Turkey but relies mostly on electronic components manufactured in the US and Canada. A growing number of countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe continue to stock up on war machines, as, at a cost of about $ 2 million per piece, they are more or less the cheapest UAV in the world.

The control car of the Biractar TB2 (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)The beacon of the Biractar TB2 (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

In recent years the TB2 has attacked targets in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh – each time against rivals armed with Russian-made tanks and anti-aircraft systems, and each time the ground forces have been fatally hit.

However, military strategists and civilian experts warn that the UAV, which has no self-defense systems, is easily detected by enemy radars and cruising at less than 50 mph, will become a duck in range of the Russians’ multi-tiered defense systems. Of the Russian army long-range cruise missiles that can destroy Ukrainian UAVs even before they take off, short-range missiles can shoot them down in aviation and such and other electronic weapons can disrupt their communication and control capabilities, so much so that they fall to the ground.

“Even with the UAV’s positive record of success, all expectations were that once he faced the entire defense scale of the Russian military, he would have no chance,” said Lauren Kahn, who is researching the field of UAV warfare at the New York International Relations Council. . The survival of these tools and their frequent use “raises questions about Russian capabilities,” she added.

A missile strike was launched at the Starokonstantinov military airfield in the Khmelnitsky region. This is the location of the #Bayraktar TB2 attack drones.#Ukraine #RussiaUkraineConflict #RussiaUkraineWar #RussiaUkraineCrisis #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/uFc3x0q3Pm

– Aleksandre Zarnadze (@ AlekoZarnadze22) February 25, 2022

Russia’s failure to control airspace over Ukraine has confused senior Pentagon officials so far. Moscow has set up sophisticated missile systems and advanced air force to break through Ukrainian borders, but they do not appear to have been used effectively and complementary in favor of Russian military ground forces, according to officials. Also, surprisingly, the Ukrainian defense systems were particularly effective against Russian aircraft.

“We are failing to see a sufficient level of integration between air and ground forces,” a senior Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said today. “Not all the actions they do on the ground are embodied in the actions they do in the air. There seems to be a level of disconnection there.” Ukraine’s success in keeping Russia away from its coveted goal – to control its airspace – allows it not only to fly its drones, but also limits Russia’s ability to send drones that have fished Ukrainian Ukrainian missile squads that have destroyed hundreds of Russian military vehicles so far.

“It’s so embarrassing, and no one’s so sure what went wrong,” said Samuel Bendt, a Russian military expert at a research institute in Washington called the “New American Center for Security.” He further claimed that “Russia has a large number of UAVs, and it was estimated that they would use them to attack Ukrainian targets. This assumption has been completely refuted. ”

UAV Biraktar TB2 (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)UAV Biraktar TB2 (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

The Russian forces seem to have used the UAV capabilities in the pinch so far, so according to Bennett, perhaps because of the fear of being overthrown, because they are still in contention for control of the airspace.

Without air superiority, Russian attack capability has stalled, and it has managed to occupy fewer territories in recent days. The Pentagon last week estimated that between 5,000 and 6,000 Russian soldiers had lost their lives in battles so far, and eyewitnesses claimed that the number of tanks, missile launchers and trucks the Russians lost had reached a three-digit number. At the beginning of the fighting, Ukraine had between 5 and 20 Birakhtar TB2s in service. Russia claims to have overthrown some of them, but it is unclear how many of them remain. Still, Ukraine continues to release videos that allegedly show the UAV hitting Russian vehicles.

Air superiority is considered a top step when operating in a military operation in the modern age, and armies around the world waste a lot of time and economic resources to make sure they can control the sky in the first moments before the start of hostilities. Strategists investigating Russia have predicted that it will use its missile forces immediately to attack and destroy the Ukrainian Air Force before they have time to use it, then launch an attack with fighter jets, sophisticated electronic warfare and missile truck convoys to take ownership of Ukraine’s airspace. With the air superiority under its control, Russia could easily have used its fighter jets, bombers and drones to completely destroy the Ukrainian army. This did not happen.

UAV TRA2 UAV at takeoff (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)UAV TRA2 UAV at takeoff (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

In the first days of the raid it seemed as if the Russian army was restraining its air force, perhaps on the assumption that the Ukrainian army would not return war. Instead, the Russian military encountered fierce resistance. When they tried to propel the missile launchers and electronic warfare devices towards the borders, they were attacked by ambushes by the Ukrainians even before they had time to take part in the campaign.

“This is definitely not the way to launch an air operation,” said Michael Kaufman, head of the Russia Department of Defense and Defense Studies at the State of Virginia in the United States. “It was a confused operation to change the government, which turned into a war they did not really want,” he continued.

Despite this, the failure to achieve a quick victory for Russia does not mean that the Ukrainians have won, Kaufman further argued. He noted that the Ukrainians continue to lose aircraft to the Russian anti-aircraft launchers, and that it is impossible to glean information about the real state of the air campaign from official announcements and news reports only.

Paradoxically, experts argue that Ukraine’s early success in defending airspace only prolongs the campaign and intensifies the destruction, as the Russian military appears to be moving from surgical and accurate attacks to lateral bombings of residential neighborhoods and civilian targets.

The prevailing assessment is that Russia still has reserve forces that it can use later on to establish its air superiority after failing to do so at first. Security experts say that the Ukrainian Air Force has a few planes left to carefully choose their targets lest they too be shot down by Russia’s powerful and advanced missile systems.

For now, Ukrainian UAVs are still flying, according to U.S. security officials. Last Thursday, a video posted on social media showed that the Ukrainian drone of the Ukrainians was destroyed by a squad of mobile Russian missile launchers – the weapon designed to shoot down the clumsy drones in the hands of the Ukrainians.

By Editor

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