For more than a year, Ukraine has been fighting for its life against a military superpower that enjoys overwhelming superiority in money, arms and manpower. One of the few areas where Ukraine has consistently outpaced Russia is in its use of innovative military technology.
While Ukraine today is often described as a testing ground for new military technology, it is important to emphasize that Ukrainians are active participants in this process, often leading new technological innovations. . The scale of the Russian invasion and the intensity of the fighting means that concepts are often off the drawing board and onto the battlefield in months, even days. Fortunately, Ukraine has the technical talent and flexibility to make the most of these conditions.
As the war enters its second year, it is clear that military technology offers the best solution to the threat posed by Russian aggression. After all, success in modern warfare rests largely on data and technology, not how many tanks his 1960s can deploy or his willingness to use infantry as cannon fodder.
Russia’s preparations for the current all-out invasion of Ukraine have been ongoing for much of the last two decades and have focused on traditional military thinking with emphasis on armor, artillery and air power. . In contrast, the rapidly modernizing Ukrainian Armed Forces achieved a technological leap in less than 12 months. Since the beginning of the aggression, Ukraine has shown a willingness to innovate that the more conservative Russian military can’t match.
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Modern weapons supplied by Ukrainian international partners played a key role in the victory of the Ukrainian army on the battlefield in the first year of the war. Similarly, Western countries have also helped Ukraine with various technological solutions and assistance. At the same time, Ukrainians have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to develop and adapt new technologies to suit the specific circumstances of Russia’s ongoing aggression. , has used everything to save the lives of Ukrainian military personnel and civilians, while inflicting the greatest losses on the Russian army.
Drones are especially notable as the biggest game-changer in Russia’s war in Ukraine. Thanks to the prevalence and skillful use of aerial reconnaissance drones, the Ukrainian army was able to monitor large frontal areas and coordinate artillery. Strike Drones, on the other hand, made it possible to attack enemy positions directly.
The vital role of drones on the battlefield has sparked a wartime domestic production boom. Over the past six months, he said, the number of Ukrainian companies manufacturing UAVs has increased more than fivefold. This expansion continues. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine is quickly escalating into the world’s first robot war. To win, Ukraine needs a large number of drones in all conceivable categories.
This helps explain the thinking behind the decision to launch the Army of Drones initiative. This joint project within the framework of the UNITED24 funding platform involves the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the State Special Communications Service and the Ministry of Digital Transformation. In six months, the Army of Drones initiative has acquired over 1,700 of his drones worth tens of millions of dollars. This was made possible thanks to donations from individuals and businesses in 76 countries.
Ukraine is now developing its own new type of drone to meet the challenges of Russian aggression. Ukraine, for example, is producing a new class of naval drones that will help defend the country against frequent missile attacks launched from Russian warships. Ukrainian tech innovators are making great strides in developing maritime drones that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and potentially target, deter or neutralize warships costing millions of dollars.
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A Ukrainian IT specialist creates software products that improve the wartime performance of the country’s armed forces. One good example is Delta, a comprehensive situational awareness system developed by the Innovation Center within the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. This tool is best described as “Google Maps for the military”. By integrating data from a variety of sources, including aerial reconnaissance, satellite imagery, and drone footage, it provides a real-time view of the battlefield according to NATO standards.
Such a system will allow the Ukrainian military to become more and more data-driven. This will allow the Ukrainian commander to quickly adapt to the situation and change tactics if necessary. The system will save lives and ammunition while highlighting potential opportunities for Ukraine to exploit. This approach has already proven its effectiveness in the defense of Kiev and in the successful counteroffensive to liberate the Kharkov province and Kherson.
Ukraine has also launched a special chatbot that allows civilians to report on enemy military movements and military equipment. Integrated into the widely used Diia app, the tool has attracted over 460,000 Ukrainian users. The reports they provide have helped destroy dozens of Russian positions along with tanks and artillery.
In addition to developing its own military technology, Ukraine has also proven very adept at adapting existing technological solutions and adapting them to wartime conditions. , the Starlink that turned the tide of war and became part of Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. Satellite communications are one of Ukraine’s competitive advantages, providing connectivity across the front lines and liberated areas of the country, and working even during power outages. Since the Russian invasion began, Ukraine has received over 30,000 of her Starlink terminals.
Ukraine’s effective use of military technology has led some observers to suggest that the country could become a “second Israel.” This is a flattering comparison, but in reality Ukraine definitely has even greater potential. Within the next few years, Ukraine is set to become a country with first-class military-technical solutions.
Important decisions have already been made to put Ukraine on this track. In 2023, efforts will focus on developing a military tech ecosystem with a vibrant start-up sector along with a strong R&D component. There are already clear signs of progress, such as the recent creation of a strike drone battalion within the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The war launched by Russia in February 2022 has entered its second year. Putin expected an easy victory. Instead, his tepid invasion highlights Ukraine’s incredible bravery while also demonstrating the country’s technological sophistication. demonstrated its ability to defeat one of the world’s most powerful armies. This astounding success provides lessons on military strategy and security policy that will be studied for decades to come.
Mykhailo Fedorov is Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine.
The views expressed in Ukraine Alert are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Atlantic Council, its staff or its supporters.
of of the Eurasia Center The mission is to strengthen transatlantic cooperation to promote stability, democratic values and prosperity in Eurasia, from Eastern Europe and Turkey in the west to the Caucasus, Russia and Central Asia in the east.