After the Karabakh war in 2020, there are many opinions that the era of tanks has ended and the role of the main weapon has been ceded to drones.

In fact, it is too early to talk about the end of the tank era on the battlefield, but the role of UAVs is actually becoming more and more prominent.

During the Ukraine conflict, tens of thousands of different drones, both Russian and Ukrainian, were deployed, and the principles of engagement changed. The US publication Wall Street Journal (WSJ) described what happened on the battlefield in Ukraine, emphasizing that drones are becoming one of the “game-changing” factors. Typically, through the use of reconnaissance UAVs, the operation of collecting target parameters is determined very quickly. According to Deputy Director of the Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Vadim Skibitsky, from discovering the target to destroying it took no more than 10 minutes.

It is an achievement of the information technology revolution, raising questions about the implementation of some basic concepts in modern military doctrine for future warfare. Retired U.S. Army Sergeant Bradley Crawford told the Wall Street Journal that combined force attacks, such as the 2002 invasion of Iraq, may now be impossible due to the effectiveness of drones. A first-person perspective (FPV) drone costs much less than a 155mm artillery shell, not to mention tanks and other armored vehicles, or an expensive anti-tank missile.

The head of the General Directorate of Defense Intelligence of Ukraine – Mr. Kirill Budanov confirmed that this is the reason why the counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which has been going on for 4 months, is carried out mostly on the ground. The Ukraine war shows that the West’s modern military training and equipment, in response to decades of counterinsurgency operations aimed at defeating much weaker opponents in Iraq and Afghanistan, needs to rebuild.

The “ancient” combat method, according to comments, has absolutely no meaning when used against a strong armed force like the Russian Army. This approach leads to the fact that placing emphasis on complex and expensive weapons systems appears unreasonable, when they cannot last long in a comprehensive confrontation with opponents of equivalent strength.

Direct tank battles have become increasingly rare, so many of the complex features of this vehicle are no longer as important as before. According to Ukrainian officials, less than 5% of the tanks destroyed since the start of the conflict were hit by other tanks, while the rest were hit by mines, artillery, anti-tank systems and drones. It should be reiterated that although tanks still play a significant role on the battlefield, their importance is gradually being reduced and may be completely replaced in the future by armed UAVs.


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