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Drones have rapidly evolved from playing a supporting role in military operations to becoming an essential component of modern warfare, and governments worldwide need to start paying attention and learning from the use of drones in various recent conflicts, including in Ukraine, Israel, and Gaza.
According to a report by Politico, drones enable widespread real-time situational awareness, as well as improved targeting, suppression and destruction of adversary air and missile defenses. Drones, small or large, are being employed and destroyed in great numbers and are challenging concealment and survivability in the field.
As part of the Israel-Hamas war, Hamas used drones to prepare its brutal attacks on southern Israel. They did so by disabling Israeli high-tech communications, sensor networks and remote-controlled machine guns which were all meant to serve as the first line of defense against infiltrations from the Gaza Strip.
Another example of drone use is the key role they played in achieving air power dominance in the war against Russia, while counter-drone equipment and tech have become increasingly important to protect their forces. In addition, rapid drone delivery to meet the increased battlefield needs in Ukraine has led to a new dynamic approach that contributes to innovative procurement, mass production, operator training, and overall a novel approach to operations and reforms in the military’s force structure.
Nevertheless, it is crucial to understand that drones don’t work in isolation but rather should be regarded as a way to enhance military effectiveness. Furthermore, their effectiveness depends on their integration into a wider military architecture that combines many different capabilities across different domains, including space, cyber, intelligence fusion and processing, and electronic warfare, among others.
In their research assessing the impact of drones on the modern battlefield, Politico reports finding that they are becoming indispensable for modern military operations and that their role will only expand in the future.
Furthermore, considering the wear and tear that small and medium drones suffer from in high-intensity conflicts, it is crucial to prioritize the replicability and affordability of these systems. Overall, while scale production and more modular designs could help bring down the cost of larger drones in the coming years, their high-end capabilities and sensor technologies remain relatively expensive- meaning that there is a need to make these platforms more survivable through specific self-protection capabilities.
This information was provided by Politico.