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“Army of Drones” UAVs responsible for over 35% of Russian tank losses in October

From 2-30 October, the Ukrainian military, utilizing UAVs provided by the “Army of Drones” project, destroyed 175 Russian tanks, comprising a significant portion of the 473 total tanks destroyed during this period.
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Ukrainian soldier with drones. Credit: National Guard of Ukraine/Twitter
“Army of Drones” UAVs responsible for over 35% of Russian tank losses in October

The Ukrainian military, using UAVs provided by the “Army of Drones” project, destroyed 175 Russian tanks, 235 artillery pieces, and 235 armored vehicles in October, according to data from the Ministry of Digital Transformation published between 2 and 30 October.

Ukraine’s Digital Minister Mykhailo Fedorov stated drone operators “were especially focused on artillery” last week, eliminating 65 cannons and 14 self-propelled guns.

“It is this weapon that the enemy is actively using to shell Ukrainian positions. Less Russian artillery means more lives saved for our soldiers,” Fedorov said.

The UAV operators also struck 42 tanks, 54 armored vehicles, and much other Russian equipment last week, the Minister specified.

In total, over 1,000 units of Russian military equipment were hit in October. Additionally, over 591 Russian personnel were eliminated by the drones.

The published data claims between October 2-30, drone operators specifically destroyed or damaged:

  • 175 tanks
  • 235 armored vehicles
  • 352 artillery systems, including mortars and MLRS
  • 243 vehicles
  • 591 personnel

Compared to the total losses Russia suffered during this period, according to Ukraine’s General Staff, drones accounted for:

  • 36.9% of 473 tanks
  • 30.3% of 775 armored vehicles
  • 49.5% of 710 artillery systems
  • 37.6% of 646 vehicles
  • 2.8% of 20,860 personnel

The published data on drone strikes specifically encompasses outcomes from units supplied by the “Army of Drones” project, which, to date, includes 17 UAV units within the Ukrainian Armed Forces and National Guard, in addition to two units within the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) and the State Special Communications Service. This dataset does not cover the entire spectrum of Ukraine’s defense forces but provides insight into the scale of offensive drone use.

However, there is some ambiguity in correlating the drone data with the General Staff’s total casualty counts, as one refers to “destroyed/damaged” while the other says “losses.”

Nevertheless, the data illustrates the significant role drones have played in counter-battery efforts, taking out nearly 50% of artillery systems, as well as a third of Russian armored vehicles.

Russia deploys cheap DIY drones to divert Ukraine’s air defense

The Ministry of Digital Transformation states the “Army of Drones” project continues to equip strike units across Ukraine’s Armed Forces brigades. By the end of 2022, they plan to field over 60 specially equipped units to “destroy the enemy on the front lines using unmanned technologies.”

On 25 October, Oleksandr Kamyshin, Ukraine’s Minister for Strategic Industries, stated that Ukraine aims to significantly increase its drone production capabilities, to manufacture tens of thousands of drones per month by the end of 2023 to bolster the country’s defense efforts.

Over the past 16 months, Ukaine’s Defense Ministry has already put into service more than 30 models of unmanned aerial vehicles of various types, from reconnaissance and attack drones to loitering munitions.

War of drones: can Ukraine keep its assymetric advantage?

Earlier in October, it was reported that the Ukrainian AirUnit company had launched the development of FPV drones with a self-guided system that should overcome Russian electronic warfare and increase the impact of strikes on Russian positions

Recently, Federov announced that Ukraine developed Piranha AVD 360 electronic warfare system aiming to defend against Russian drones, which Russian forces are also employing to target equipment. The system creates a defense perimeter extending 600 meters around armored vehicles that jams the signals controlling Russian drones.

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