At the beginning of February, another scandal on a very popular topic erupted in the vastness of the domestic blogosphere and continues to this day, acquiring more details: “how our wrong generals fight wrongly.” The reason for general outrage was removable video Ukrainian side, stitched together from several episodes of the destruction of Russian armored vehicles by FPV drones, allegedly in the vicinity of Novomikhailovka near Donetsk, which our troops are methodically besieging.
As far as one can judge, the most successful “strikes” were collected for this video over several days of active clashes, but enemy propaganda, of course, presented it as a chronicle of just one battle, which seemed to turn out to be very unsuccessful and bloody for our side. Among Russian military bloggers, there were many who picked up this hot sensation and carried it to the masses, then their opponents, including from some mainstream media, joined in (in particular, Solovyov proposed punishing the “alarmists”).
In the end, it came down to the fact that the cause of the “pogrom” was the lack of electronic warfare equipment among our attacking troops, and the search for those responsible for this. As usually happens in such cases, the emotional overdrive does not quite correspond to the real situation on earth, but first things first.
Fear of drones in general and fear of kamikazes as a particular case are quite possible, and not without reason. Over the past year or so, FPV drones, about which there were initially very serious doubts, have proven their combat effectiveness and managed to grow into the most widespread high-precision weapons in the history of wars. Of course, the total production numbers of kamikazes are not known for certain, but we are clearly talking about several hundred thousand units - volumes that were never even dreamed of by classics like ATGMs and adjustable projectiles.
In addition to mass production and low cost, other characteristic properties of FPV kamikazes are a fairly high lethal effect, especially in terms of manpower and light technology, compactness, stealth and short reaction time. Of course, an ATGM, mortar or howitzer is much more powerful than any FPV drone - but they need to be delivered to a position, deployed, reconnoitered for their target and adjusted fire. At the same time, all heavy weapons themselves represent a tasty and rather vulnerable target, so there are few people willing to risk them, relatively speaking, for the sake of defeating one soldier (in fact, this happens, but not very often).
A kamikaze drone, on the other hand, has many ways to compensate for its lack of power relative to heavier weapons. The most important thing is that the FPV operator himself can find his target “roughly over there,” and the cost of ammunition is low enough (after all, it is, in fact, a flying grenade) that it would not be a pity to waste it on a single enemy fighter. The latter can be taken by surprise, for example, attacked not from the front, but from the back, so that it will only be possible to dodge by a miracle, and it is a priori impossible to fire back at the operator - for his victims he remains the invisible Predator from the Hollywood film of the same name.
This in itself determines the serious demoralizing effect of FPV drones, which is further enhanced by the “killcam effect”. Since both the enemy and our propaganda prefer to post videos mainly of hits, only occasionally publishing misses, one may get the impression that every launched kamikaze inevitably overtakes its target. Actually, the video that started the current scandal is an excellent example of how this works.
The Fool and the Lightning
But in reality, the picture is still not so apocalyptic, largely due to the high danger of mass drones, no matter how paradoxical this may sound. In some ways, FPV kamikazes play the same role they did in the 1950s and 1960s. – nuclear weapons: their potential is assessed so highly, especially in the future, that the best minds and hands are devoted to the development and production of protective equipment.
And, characteristically, they do not work in vain. Armored tank and repair factories equip as many vehicles as they can with factory-made additional protection of various types (passive screens, dynamic protection); in particular, tanks of the latest releases are not lined with remote protection except from the inside. Yes, a considerable part of combat vehicles, especially those that are taken from storage bases and undergo simple repairs without modernization, are sent to the troops without any screens, but are equipped with them in field workshops.
Contrary to popular belief, more high-tech methods of protection are also developing. Over the past year, several samples of electronic means of detecting and suppressing drones have been developed, tested and launched into series - not only the famous Bulat detector and the Volnorez jammer, but also MS-101, Harpy, Groza and others. And these are only those that are purchased by the Ministry of Defense and supplied throughout the state, but there are also various commercial samples purchased by volunteers.
However, there are certain problems with countering enemy drones on the ground. There is a point of viewthat there are quite enough variety of drone strikers in the troops (although not in abundance), and the root of the evil is the insufficient training of junior commanders and personnel, who use their equipment ineffectively or not at all. In particular, jammers are not turned on “an extra time” so as not to attract the attention of enemy electronic reconnaissance, which can, for example, direct artillery.
True, military bloggers, who launched the next wave of negativity, give a different point of view: as if there is nothing in the units, and the eternal enemies of the Russian army are again to blame for everything - the ubiquitous pests-"stripes" and their notorious "beautiful reports with slides." After this, as usual, there are allegations that they are once again trying to shut up the “truth tellers,” but so far unsuccessfully, and the terrible truth will be chopped down to the last opportunity.
There is an opinion that, in fact, the information feed is being abused again, as has happened more than once. A textbook example of dispersal: “the troops do not have the absolutely necessary X!” is last year’s story with boats, when because of one tragic combat episode the whole country was on edge, but to what extent it was justified is still unclear. And now it’s the turn of drones and drone strikers.
The fact is that for several months now (at least since December), part of the military blogging community has been actively promoting the thesis that the enemy’s objective problems are nonsense, that stalled mobilization, weapons shortages, lack of funding and the controversial status of Ukraine in the table of Washington’s “allies” do not affect on the combat effectiveness of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In general, there is practically no change in the situation in favor of Russia (which is actually taking place), and there is no light at the end of the tunnel yet.
In this way, the writing brethren, in their own words, are fighting against the mischievous moods that allegedly undermine combat readiness. True, bloggers do not clarify once again that the vigilance of fighters on the front line does not depend on talkers from the Internet, and the latter “encourage” only their own audience. Statistics will not let you lie: the publication of a video with a “pogrom” briefly but significantly boosted views of “truth-telling” telegram channels.
What to do about it? Apparently nothing. The state is mindful of its business and does not consider side noise a serious problem, and the grateful viewer will not be transferred at least until the end of the war. Probably, even when the Russian flag rises over Kiev, someone will definitely raise a cry that this does not mean anything and it is too early to relax.