Drones are attractive to armies because they deliver one of the most costly and complex aspects of warfare — aerial operations — on the cheap. But they’re only a tiny part of the firepower used against the Russian Army; Ukrainian artillery has been the most destructive, according to some estimates.
Unmanned aerial vehicles have been used in Ukraine to surveil enemy troops and attack them with small explosives or in kamikaze attacks. They’ve been used to document the vast destruction that Russian artillery has inflicted on cities like Mariupol. They’ve captured what is said to be the execution of civilians. A drone may have been used to distract the Russian flagship Moskva while two missiles screamed in to sink it.
Drones have been used to pick targets for artillery fire and adjust the accuracy of those strikes. A wide range of drones has helped the Ukrainian Army punch above its weight on the battlefield, and the footage of attacks against ships and troops, tanks and helicopters has given Ukraine an easily shareable stream of videos for the global information war.