With hundreds of reconnaissance and attack drones flying over Ukraine each day, the fight set off by a land grab befitting an 18th-century emperor has transformed into a digital-age competition for technological superiority in the skies — one military annals will mark as a turning point.
In past conflicts, drones were typically used by one side over largely uncontested airspace to locate and hit targets — for example, in U.S. operations in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
In the battle between Russia and Ukraine, drones are integrated into every phase of fighting, with extensive fleets, air defenses and jamming systems on each side. It is a war fought at a distance — the enemy is often miles away — and nothing bridges the gap more than drones, giving Russia and Ukraine the ability to see, and attack, each other without ever getting close.
Two main developments are going to impact future war. The proliferation and availability of combat drones for longer-ranged, more-sophisticated operations, and the absolute necessity to have cheap tactical drones for close-support operations, – Samuel Bendett, a military analyst at the Virginia-based research group CNA.
In Ukraine, that future is now.
- Come Back Alive is one of the largest charitable foundations that supports Ukrainian soldiers, founded by the IT specialist Vitaliy Deynega. The organization collected more than 210 million UAH (more than $7M) in 2014. According to Na chasi, the Patreon page Come Back Alive is in the top ten projects by the number of financial donations.
- MacPaw Development Fund
- Army SOS, which develops drones;
- Everybody Can, an organization that supports internally displaced people;
- Help on the Ministry of Defense website.