September 02, 2023

Why Ukraine is able to embarrass Russia's air defense systems, among the most advanced in the world, with small drones

Source: Business Insider

Journalist: Alia Shoaib

"Russia boasted of having layered defenses before the war, the sensor electronic warfare, different missile batteries, kinetic batteries, radars, that can sort of identify and interdict the threat," Samuel Bendett, an analyst and expert in unmanned and robotic military systems at the Center for Naval Analyses, said.

But he added that "most of these defenses were built to identify and destroy larger targets like missiles, helicopters, aircraft. Many were not really geared towards identifying much smaller UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles]."


"Such defenses are never absolute, there are always going to be gaps that will be exploited," Bendett said.

In an update on the Ukraine conflict on Thursday, the UK's Ministry of Defence said that the number of UAVs hitting their targets likely meant that Russia was struggling to detect and destroy them, and it would possibly force it to rethink its air defense strategy.

Bendett said that Ukraine had vastly improved its domestic drone production industry over the course of the war, and it was likely producing up to six different long-range drones that it could be using to strike Russia.

Read the full story and more from Insider.


  • Samuel Bendett

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Technology and National Security Program

    Samuel Bendett is an Adviser with CNA Strategy, Policy, Plans and Programs Center (SP3), where he is a member of the Russia Studies Program. His work involves research on the ...