The Rise of Drones in Modern Warfare: Ukraine’s Pioneering Tactics

The face of warfare is rapidly evolving. A Ukrainian soldier recently revealed that the traditional rifle, long regarded as the quintessential weapon of combat, is quickly becoming obsolete. Instead, drones are emerging as the true force majeure on the modern battlefield.

Valentyn Ilchuk, a seasoned Ukrainian soldier, shared with the Metro, “If you ask me what war will be like in five to 10 years, there will be far fewer rifles.”

Located in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region, Ilchuk heads a nimble “hunter-killer crew” of three. Their primary mission? To launch self-exploding drones that target Russian forces deep behind enemy lines. Notably, this unit hasn't even fired a rifle in over six months.

Illustrating the changing tides, Ilchuk remarked, “Sometimes we joke about having to drag our rifles around with us because, in half a year, we haven't shot them once.”

But the story doesn't end there. This Ukrainian unit has been getting inventive with their aerial arsenal. Apart from the standard drones, they've modified DJI Mavic 3 quadcopters and even agricultural drones to serve as bombers.

But while creativity is abundant, resources are lacking. Ilchuk mentioned on Facebook that the defense ministry's provisions only go so far. Thus, he has initiated a fundraising campaign to procure more drones and other essential gear.

Both Russian and Ukrainian troops are heavily investing in drones for their operations. In a recent display of drone prowess, the Ukrainian energy company, Okko, unveiled a video. It showcased the Ukrainian military using a drone to pinpoint Russian defense positions, subsequently neutralized with HIMARS.

However, it's not all smooth flying. The increased use of drones has posed significant challenges for , especially their purportedly advanced air defense systems.

These defenses are having a hard time detecting smaller drones. Samuel Bendett, an expert in unmanned military systems at the Center for Naval Analyses, stated that Russia's defense mechanisms aren't primed to spot tiny drones.

Further advancements come in innovative forms. In August, 's Security Service reported using “cardboard” drones from to strike Russian fighter planes.

Plus, Ukrainian IT company, Cosmolot, has begun rolling out “Punisher” attack drones to the Ukrainian army, touting their resistance to electronic warfare.

As warfare continues to evolve, one thing becomes clear: drones are here to stay, drastically reshaping combat strategies.

Photo courtesy of Anadolu Agency

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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