Monday, March 28, 2022

21st Century Warfare

 3/28/22 Guardian:

One week into its invasion of Ukraine, Russia massed a 40-mile mechanised column in order to mount an overwhelming attack on Kyiv from the north.

But the convoy of armoured vehicles and supply trucks ground to a halt within days, and the offensive failed, in significant part because of a series of night ambushes carried out by a team of 30 Ukrainian special forces and drone operators on quad bikes, according to a Ukrainian commander.

The drone operators were drawn from an air reconnaissance unit, Aerorozvidka, which began eight years ago as a group of volunteer IT specialists and hobbyists designing their own machines and has evolved into an essential element in Ukraine’s successful David-and-Goliath resistance.

However, while Ukraine’s western backers have supplied thousands of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles and other military equipment, Aerorozvidka has been forced to resort to crowdfunding and a network of personal contacts in order to keep going, by getting hold of components such as advanced modems and thermal imaging cameras, in the face of export controls that prohibit them being sent to Ukraine....

Honchar is an ex-soldier turned IT marketing consultant, who returned to the army after the first Russian invasion. Taras, who asked not to use his surname, was a management consultant, who specialised in fundraising for the unit and only joined full-time as a combatant in February.

In its early days, the unit used commercial surveillance drones, but its team of engineers, software designers and drone enthusiasts later developed their own designs.

They built a range of surveillance drones, as well as large 1.5-metre eight-rotor machines capable of dropping bombs and rocket-propelled anti-tank grenades, and created a system called Delta, a network of sensors along the frontlines that fed into a digital map so commanders could see enemy movements as they happened. It now uses the Starlink satellite system, supplied by Elon Musk, to feed live data to Ukrainian artillery units, allowing them to zero in on Russian targets. 

1 comment:

  1. Am I the only one having flashbacks to Vernor Vinge's "The Ungoverned"?