TechRussians are using fewer drones - are they preparing for a massive strike?

Russians are using fewer drones - are they preparing for a massive strike?

Shahed 136 drones used by Russia
Shahed 136 drones used by Russia
Images source: © ANA
ed. MTO

4:19 PM EST, November 11, 2023

The American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has released an analysis suggesting that the recent decline in drone attacks on Ukraine could potentially be the precursor to a large-scale strike scheduled for the winter period.

"Over the past month, the use of drones against Ukraine by Russian forces has significantly decreased when compared to previous months, indicating a possible preparation for a wide-scale winter attack campaign," the ISW noted in its report. The Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson highlighted that the number of drones deployed by Russians in October dropped to hundreds, down from 500 in September. Nevertheless, the intensity of their usage has further decreased.

Preparing for a drone-focused attack campaign?

Russian sources, including war bloggers, believe that the decreased number of attacks in recent weeks might relate to the potential launch of a combined large-scale attack campaign. These proposed attacks are expected to coincide with "major land operations". Last year, Russia executed concentrated attacks on Ukraine's power infrastructure during the fall and winter, aiming to disrupt the electricity supply system.

ISW's report also suggests, from Russian narratives, a possible enemy takeover in the vicinity of the Stepove settlement, situated approximately two miles northwest of Avdiivka in the Donetsk region. In recent weeks, the Russians have intensified their attacks in this area, possibly aiming to capture Avdiivka or its surroundings.

The role of drones in warfare

The importance of drones in modern warfare is evident, with Russia prioritizing the production of Shahed drones under an Iranian license. Such drone ammunition is among Russia's favored methods for attacking targets deep within Ukrainian territory. The Ukrainians, in response, have actively deployed units equipped with various types of drones.

In addition to the Ukrainian front, drones also play a pivotal role in the ongoing conflict with Hamas. The organization has frequently tested cheap kamikaze drones against Israel's air defense. As the deployment of single drones or drone swarms increases, defensive technologies, such as the Leonidas microwave gun developed in the US, are also emerging to protect targets from drone attacks.

Related content