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Are Drones A War Game Changer? The Ukrainian Case

Written by Pietro Maccabelli

Edited by Piotr Kosik

Supervised by Ginevra Bertamini

We cannot ignore or underestimate any more the increasingly important role that drones play in contemporary wars. The argument for which the usage of drones is dramatically changing historically deep-rooted war dynamics and allowing for quick military takeovers by those who more largely recur to these technologies still does not find a general consensus. However, the fact that their use is surging and having an impact on the conduct of modern warfare is undisputable.

UAVs’ (unmanned aerial vehicles) development is said to be “one of the fastest-changing trends in history, comparable perhaps only to the spread of personal computers or mobile phones” (Burtolovic et al., 2023, p.72). Moreover, there is a possibility that fleets of drones deployed for military purposes will substantially increase in the foreseeable future. The US has gone from having just a handful of drones at the beginning of the 2000s to an inventory of more than 10,000 just 15 years later (Boyle, 2021). Expectedly other Western powerhouses are following the USA’s lead. Developing and low-GDP countries are also increasing their drone stocks since, as stated by one of the most influential US military analysts, Michael Kofman, “Drones will offer to also small countries cheap access to tactical aviation and precision-guided weapons, allowing them to destroy the enemy’s much more expensive equipments” (Dixon, 2020, online).