DRONES AND THE UKRAINE

DECEMBER 2022

  

It's a bird? It's a plane? No, it's a drone. Welcome to the arrival of Star Wars!

We are beginning to experience drones on the commercial front - albeit in a product-test delivery mode, but drones have become a deadly tool for both sides in Ukranian warfare.

As an Army weapon, it has a dual function: observation and explosive ordinance. On the observation side, it has replaced the spotter plane (WWI) and the forward observer (WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam) in precisely pinpointing the location of enemy targets. In the Ukrainian war these targets include Russian command centers, supply depots, and tanks. As an ordinance device it can be designed to function either as a guided missile or an explosive.

The Russians are using drones in a similar manner. Their product supply evidently comes from Iran. Their drone activity has caused the Ukrainians to rapidly relocate individual HIMARS once the latter has fired its shells, thus avoiding counterfire destruction.

What interests me is the question as to whether these drones are to be considered artillery devices or aircraft? In the United States, drone regulations are administered by the Federal Aviation Administration in cases in which the drone flies above a certain altitude or in off-limit areas.

Bottom line - we are going to see more of these unmanned aircraft, both involving military and in domestic applications as they are further developed by the Department of Defense. DOD research begets technological product-advancement which. in turn, begets innovative commercial applications. Watch this happen in the field of unmanned aircraft. We are currently previewing this evolutionary process.

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