• @zephyreksOPM
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    557 months ago

    “Today, a column of tanks or a column of advancing troops can be discovered in three to five minutes and hit in another three minutes,” Maj. Gen. Vadym Skibitsky, the deputy commander of Ukraine’s HUR military-intelligence service, told The Wall Street Journal.

    “The days of massed armored assaults, taking many kilometers of ground at a time, like we did in 2003 in Iraq — that stuff is gone because the drones have become so effective now,” Bradley Crawford, a retired US Army sergeant who’s an Iraq war veteran, told the newspaper.

    This war is going to change military doctrine entirely. The concept of large and expensive tanks and planes has been decinated by information age technologies at a tiny fraction of the cost.

    • BudgieMania
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      297 months ago

      It’s fascinating in a certain way. Massing dudes armed with the spear, one of the most basic concepts for a weapon possible, remained viable for millenia; but massing tanks and planes, which are marvels of advanced engineering, has been made obsolete in a century. XX and XXI century progress has been absurd.

      • @zephyreksOPM
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        7 months ago

        Modern military doctrine was really defined by Nazi operations in WW2, but what’s missed is that the Nazis failed (and for good reason). The depth of supply lines required for an occupation (not just a decapitating strike like France) are immense and infeasible. That’s been proven time and time again by both the US and USSR, and now by Russia.

        After the attempted decapitation strike on Kyiv failed, the Russian offensive faltered and had to regroup.

    • @ricecake@sh.itjust.works
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      147 months ago

      I’d be curious to see how it plays out with the next major ground operation the US does.
      I feel like neither Russia nor Ukraine having air superiority changes the dynamics quite a bit.
      I have my doubts that the tactic would work as well if the target has more unfettered ability to bomb your potential staging areas.

      • @TransplantedSconie@lemm.ee
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        137 months ago

        I can’t find the link, but I saw a video of a training exercise where an F-35 dropped a shit-ton of autonomous drones, and they circled until they each had an individual target, then plunged right into them.

        Fuck that. You have zero warning because you can’t see the F-35 and you can’t see the drones until they turn your lights off.

        • @Edgelord_Of_Tomorrow@lemmy.world
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          7 months ago

          Homies acting like the US hasn’t been bombing places with drones since 2003

          Shaheds Russia is bombing Ukraine with right now are an Iranian copy of a captured Sentinel drone

          • @TransplantedSconie@lemm.ee
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            67 months ago

            These were different. Real small and about a hundred of them. Its a continuation of weapon system they used in Iraq, where a munition would be shot over a position and release a hundred little guided bombs. Now it’s just guided bombs and a shitton of the fuckers.

        • @zephyreksOPM
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          47 months ago

          If the F-35 is operating within small drone range, it’s probably detectable on infrared tbh. If it’s a larger drone, then there’s not really much of an advantage of launching it by F-35 because you’d probably be outside of radar range anyway. The F-35 is most useful when it IS accomplishing the role of CAS because it has the benefit of a pilot.

          As it stands, I feel like the primary role of jets today is to maintain aerial superiority to drop heavy bombs (which are far cheaper than building an equivalent drone).

            • @zephyreksOPM
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              17 months ago

              That’s going to be easily within infrared detection distance, right? Sounds like it would only work against insurgents who don’t have access to advanced guided munitions.

          • Ooops
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            7 months ago

            The secret here is the word “drop”. As in drop them on drones beyond their limit maximum height.

            • @zephyreksOPM
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              -17 months ago

              Even cheap consumer-grade FPV drones (e.g. from DJI) have a service ceiling of like 6km. They’re just legally not allowed to fly that high lol.

      • Pons_Aelius
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        117 months ago

        I think the whole concept of air superiority is also under question.

        How do you have air superiority when hundreds of drones can be launched without airfields or any real infrastructure required?

        How do you gain it when SEAD type missions would be constantly needed against hundreds of drones which cost a fraction of the cost of the munitions used against them?

        • @ricecake@sh.itjust.works
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          47 months ago

          Well, there’s still the infrastructure to actually distribute the drones to where they’re deployed.
          So if I can use cruise missiles to take out your air defenses, and long range bombers to take out your airfields, and then start hitting supply caches and truck convoys, you might have a hard time actually getting the drones to the areas where they’re needed before their targets have moved on.

          Or not, I don’t know. I’m just curious how it pans out in a more asymetric conflict.

        • @chowder@lemmy.one
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          47 months ago

          How do you gain it when SEAD type missions would be constantly needed against hundreds of drones which cost a fraction of the cost of the munitions used against them?

          Shit dude, there are a lot of possibilities out there.Airlauch your own drone swarm to give it extra range. Produce drones with further range, better accuracy, and better explosives. Electronic warfare to stop enemy swarms. That’s just off the top of my stoned head.

      • @zephyreksOPM
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        27 months ago

        Thing is, modern drones that can take out tanks don’t really need staging areas. You can fit one in your backpack and operate it out of a hole in the ground.

        • @ricecake@sh.itjust.works
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          17 months ago

          I’m not talking small airfield, more like the cache where you would actually keep and distribute the drones.
          The whole thing falls apart of you can’t keep resupplying them, even if they don’t need much space to operate.

          • @zephyreksOPM
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            27 months ago

            Distributing modern drones isn’t any different from distributing guns or ammunition or food or supplies. They’re small, easy to pack, individually distributable, and require minimal infrastructure.

            You might need a lot of infrastructure to launch a Predator, but I could build an FPV drone in my room.

            • @ricecake@sh.itjust.works
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              07 months ago

              Yeah, but in a warzone distribution of those things can be hard, and is only made harder by an opponent that can bomb you and you have minimal ability to defend or get warning.

              You can’t just handwave logistics and supply line defense. At some point things get put on a truck and driven to where you hand them out. If the trucks get blown up or that distribution point gets bombed, you can’t hand out the drones, and if you can’t get them to troops it doesn’t matter if they would trounce a tank.

              In Ukraine no one has air superiority, so both parties are facing similar logistics issues.

              The next time the US does a ground invasion, it’ll invariably have air superiority because of navel missile assets and long range bombers being able to clear out defenses. So it’ll be curious to see how effective that will be at countering the drones.

              • @zephyreksOPM
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                17 months ago

                If the US is fighting a peer war, how do you plan on them gaining aerial superiority and naval superiority? Ukraine’s operations in the Black Sea demonstrate that you can do the exact same thing you’re doing with drones in the ocean, and Russia/China both have hypersonic missiles for more distant naval assets.

                Moreover, your ability to project with bombers only exists if you’ve taken out enemy anti-aircraft systems, so you would need air superiority in the first place. That’s not a given since F-35s are notorious for having incredibly finicky maintenance that reduces their uptime.

                Wars are decided by logistics, so your statement that “if you don’t have logistics then drones are useless” is basically saying “if you’ve lost the war then you’ve lost the war.” Drones require far less logistical management than aircraft or ships or tanks but are easily capable of taking on any one of those things.

                • @ricecake@sh.itjust.works
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                  07 months ago

                  Well, for one I thought I was pretty clear in saying I wasn’t talking about the US fighting a peer war. That’s what I was specifically curious about how it would play out. Are smaller drone tactics like we’re seeing in Ukraine able to counter air superiorities ability to make a safe operating environment for troops and armor?

                  Conjecture about a war between the US and China is entirely out of scope. If the current war has shown anything, it’s that Russia isn’t actually in the class everyone assumed.

                  • @zephyreksOPM
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                    7 months ago

                    How far off is Ukraine from a peer, though? What are they missing that the US would have in the same conflict (other than sheer numbers)?

                    Stealth aircraft? Russia has been deploying those.

                    Naval power? Not really relevant in the Black Sea, particularly with Russian naval defences and antiship missiles.

                    This is what modern warfare looks like. The only reason this is a shock is because the US has spent the past few decades bullying terrorists in the Middle East.

                    Thing is, air superiority doesn’t do jack shit because drones aren’t really operating in “airspace,” they’re operating barely above the treeline.

    • SeaJ
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      107 months ago

      I remember drones being frequently brought up in Robert Evans’ It Could Happen Here. Basically it was a run through of what might happen in a civil war in the US. He figured a population with guns would certainly hinder an army but drones would be the game changer.

      • @zephyreksOPM
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        97 months ago

        With the freedom of the Internet though, open-source drone development might be able to achieve far lower costs than what government procurement can.

        Hardening of communications isn’t THAT complicated, after all.

      • Ooops
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        7 months ago

        There are no real game changers, only smaller steps of adaption. You won’t suddenly stopping using soldiers because drones are better. You will equip the soldiers with with more capabilities to defend drones.

        Drones aren’t efficient in Ukraine on both sides because they are more capable but because neither side has much in terms of defenses against drones.

    • @bouh@lemmy.world
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      87 months ago

      This is only continuing the trend started in ww1. The big paradigm shift of ww1 was that you can stop any number of men with machine-guns and artillery. So you need more space between the men. Tanks allowed to cover the men for an assault, so offensive could still be done.

      Now, with the accuracy of the artillery and missiles and the drones to scout, tanks are also destroyed before they can accomplish their mission. So the no-man’s-land is even larger than before.

      It is an interesting challenge to overcome.

      • @interdimensionalmeme
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        47 months ago

        There are no more lines of battle. A drone could attack anywhere. A drone could drop a grenade bouquet down the hatch of oil tankers. It’s weird the fighting is contained in Ukraine at all.

        • @bouh@lemmy.world
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          36 months ago

          There very much is a line of battle, it’s just that it’s 5km thick.

          Drones behind the lines are like missiles or long range artillery. But they don’t prevent movement from the enemy.

          Weapons and sensors will be developed to fight drones too. It’ll just take a few years.

    • neuropean
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      47 months ago

      Tbf, modern US tank doctrine was already revised prior to this such that they’re used supporting infantry, not in use in armored brigades like the gulf wars.

      • @zephyreksOPM
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        67 months ago

        A report by Natalia Bugaynova on the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) now says that the infamous pictures of rows of destroyed Leopard tanks and Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) that marked Ukraine’s disastrous counteroffensive were owing to the Western/NATO warfighting style that it trained the Ukrainian army in.

        “(Large-scale) mechanized breaches that NATO trained Ukraine’s counteroffensive brigades to execute are incredibly difficult and are not the only option available to Ukrainian forces,” said her report on ISW.

        https://www.eurasiantimes.com/ukraine-dumps-nato-us-military-doctrine-russias-impregnable/

    • @Nurgle@lemmy.world
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      27 months ago

      This is like WWI or more aptly the Spanish Civil War, giving us a taste of the next major conflict. Which will be nothing but drones clouding out the sun. They can make quicker decisions, carry bigger payloads, go longer and “save” soldiers lives. There’ll be little reason for forward deployments other than deploying air defense and limited support.

      • @zephyreksOPM
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        27 months ago

        Drones won’t get rid of men on the ground… But it gets to the point where a war is just sending men into a swarm of drones, and that just sounds unpleasant.

      • Ooops
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        7 months ago

        Drones don’t conquer areas. Drones don’t search for explosives or hidden defenders. So no, this will not change the number of soldiers but just be an andditional wave before them taking over the job that precision-guided artillery is fullfilling now.

        Also there are only very few situations where a new type of weapon actually replaced older ones. Not without decades and decades of the existing ones being adapted to new tech and tactics.

        Your “we don’t need forward deployments other than limited air defense anymore”-argument is the same wrong simplification we heard about the end of tanks after every single bigger engagement since ww1.

        • You think they can make a machine do parkour, and they can make a machine navigate collapsed buildings, but they won’t be able to make a machine that can clear a building?

          • Ooops
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            17 months ago

            No, they actually can’t, they can make a drone that can parkour a know course. On a good day an unknown course strictly comprised out of known parts. The more autonomous the task, the harder it gets.

            Contrary to public believe A.I. isn’t actually intelligent but really dump. They can only work well with permutations of known things but are still rather helpless when confronted with unknown factors.

        • @Nurgle@lemmy.world
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          07 months ago

          We’ve been using drones to search buildings for like 15 years already? Sure troops will be needed to secure a population, but drones will be the front line.

          And the end of tanks since WWI… where tanks were first introduced? Wut.

          • Ooops
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            7 months ago

            Yes… since WW1. After exactly any war people where eager to proclaim the end of tanks as warfare had obviously adapted and they were far to expensive and ineffective. Every single time. But the reality is: no one cares about the cost or efficiency as long as there isn’t a replacement that can fullfil their vital role. And so the tactics and some details were adapted instead.

            The same is true for drones. It doesn’t matter what they can do. They can’t fullfill the same role as infantry so they will not replace infantry but will be adapted for more use cases by infantry instead.

            PS: I’m obviously speaking about land based warfare here. Air combat is a different thing and much easier to adapt drones to (traversing terrain is one the most obvious issues of a drone -even more so when it has to identify all terrain for autonomous operation- that mostly does not exist in wide open spaces). So you will see a dozen pilots being replaced by 2 and a swarm of drones carrrying weapons and equipment or carrying out objectives. But you will not see the same for infantry for a very long time because somewhat autonomous operation in the chaotic terrain of ground combat is still science fiction. And non-automonous drones will be defeated by infantry using EW, not by anti-drone drones.

          • @AnarchoDakosaurus@toast.ooo
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            7 months ago

            No drones won’t be the frontline. You cannot use drones to physically hold an area, and they can be rendered useless in inclement weather or by signal jammers.

            Not to mention, if you need to actually clear houses out like the U.S. did in Fallujah, you would needs tens of thousands of men. No amount of drones would suffice to replace them for this task.

            And yes. People have been saying the tank is obsolete in almost every conflict it has fought in. Including the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

            The drone has not made anything obsolete, but it has changed how effectively you can use soldiers and equipment.

    • @Pyr_Pressure@lemmy.ca
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      26 months ago

      Don’t drones rely on wireless communication? Would it not be possible to one day make large “dead zones” many kilometers wide where drones can’t operate because of some sort of signal interruption?

      • @Chunk@lemmy.world
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        26 months ago

        Some advanced stuff like F35 has EW mitigation and is designed to withstand some jamming.

        Tiny little drones definitely don’t have that shit. But they might one day.