In seven weeks of brutal combat since Russia widened its war in Ukraine, the Ukrainian air force has lost at least 15 fixed-wing aircraft—more than a tenth of its pre-war inventory.
The Ukrainian air force and navy between them operate around three dozen Turkish-made TB-2 killer drones. But commercial-style drones have entered the fray, too. Aerorozvidka, a volunteer drone squad, has begun dropping tiny bombs from its off-the-shelf helicopter drones.
If this tactic seems familiar, it’s because terror-group Islamic State popularized it in Iraq and Syria starting eight years ago. ISIS drones dropping small explosives were "the main problem" for coalition troops fighting to liberate Mosul, one Iraqi officer said.
Drug cartels quickly copied ISIS’ methods. Now Ukraine’s own off-the-shelf drones are coming for the Russians. Video evidence of Aerorozvidka’s bombing technique isn’t hard to come by. The drone squad itself posts some of the footage.
There are common elements in the videos: a stable drone vertically dropping a small munition producing a blast that, while hardly catastrophic, seems sufficient to damage an armored vehicle and wound or kill anyone standing nearby.