Turkish-Russian drone war in the skies of Ukraine?!
Despite the great publicity that was harnessed for the Bayraktar drones used by Ukraine, the reality has proven the superiority of the Russian drones so far.
Many new factors characterize the war in Ukraine. This is the first war between Russia, on the one hand, and the West, led by the United States, on the other, on European soil. It is the first war to take place on European soil since the wars in Yugoslavia during the 1990s. The most striking novelty is that for the first time, major powers are using "Islamic" technology in their European conflict. At a time when Ukraine has resorted to relying on "Turkish technology" represented by Bayraktar drones, which have emerged in the war as one of the weapons most used by Ukrainian forces against Russia, technologically-advanced Russia has resorted to purchasing large numbers of drones of various sizes and types to be used against Ukrainian forces.
Despite the great publicity that was harnessed for the Bayraktar drones, which resulted in billions of dollars worth of contracts by Turkey to sell the drones to Ukraine and to other countries, the reality has proven the superiority of the Russian drones so far, which helped Russia tighten control over the Ukrainian skies and adopt a defensive policy with the arrival of winter with long-range strikes through drones on Ukrainian sites.
Sergei Pashinsky, head of the Association of Defense Enterprises of Ukraine, has even declared that Turkish drones are ineffective and that they are easy targets for Russian air defense systems. According to Pashinsky, most of these drones were destroyed in the first weeks of the conflict in Ukraine, and the statements about the efficiency of these drones were not real and were just part of a "public relations" campaign.
Pashinsky's comments drew condemnation from Turkish officials because it would discredit Bayraktar's drones, and thus make Turkey lose billions of dollars worth of contracts with countries around the world. These officials responded by hinting at Ukraine's incompetence in using Turkish technology, suggesting that Ukrainian officials could justify their military failure by blaming weapons they receive from other countries.
But in an article for the Eurasian Times, Ashish Dangwal pointed out the recent disappearance of Bayraktar drones from Ukraine skies and questioned whether this was the result of the ineffectiveness of these drones or the pressure exerted by Moscow on Ankara to stop selling the drones to Kiev. He pointed out that these drones have disappeared from the battlefield, raising doubts about their effectiveness. Dangwal quoted Russian reports that Russian defenses have shot down 130 Ukrainian drones since the beginning of the conflict, adding that since last August, talks about Bayraktar began to fade significantly, especially since it has proven ineffective compared to what it achieved in Libya and Syria and in the recent conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
This prompted the Americans to consider equipping Kiev with sophisticated Grey Eagles drones. But US officials fear that Russia could shoot down the drones and get some of them in good enough condition to dismantle them and acquire the advanced technology used to manufacture them.
The author attributed the poor performance of the Turkish drones to the development of Russian air defenses compared to the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, the Russians' use of early warning systems to monitor and jam the drones, and Russia's use of various types of air defense systems at the same time, in addition to Moscow's conclusion of agreements to supply Turkey with gas at reduced prices in exchange for Ankara's suspension of contracts for the sale of Bayraktar to Kiev.
On the other hand, it seems that the Russian drones have proven highly effective on the battlefield, which has worried the Americans in terms of technological progress proven by Russian military industries, on the one hand, and the possibility of Ukraine turning into a testing ground for technologically advanced Russian weapons, on the other hand. American pro-"Israel" writer Michael Knight has warned of the challenges posed by Russia's successful use of Russian drones on Western countries. In an article published on the pro-Zionist website of the Washington Institute for Near East Studies, Michael Knight argued that Ukraine has become a testing ground for Russian weapons, especially drones.
The writer stressed that the Russian drones have proven to be an important weapon for Russia in Ukraine that has proven its worth in destroying many Ukrainian military targets, noting that the Russians were able to use these cheap drones to destroy expensive Western military equipment that NATO sent to Ukraine. He pointed out that the Russian drones began to extensively appear on the battlefield in August 2022 at the same time that Bayraktar drones disappeared from the field. The Russian drones enabled Russia to make up for its losses during the first months of the war at a low cost due to the low prices of these drones.
Although the Russian drones can carry a small warhead of about 33-66 pounds of high explosives (compared to about 100 pounds for a small-diameter flying bomb), they are highly accurate and can target sensitive nodes or subcomponents within a large facility. Ukraine's ability to repel drone attacks is limited by the sheer number of locations that must be defended.
Ukrainian forces claim to have improved their anti-drone and anti-cruise missile tactics and that they are now able to intercept more than 65% of Russian drones. But these claims are not true, apart from the fact that they have contributed to the diversion of a large part of the equipment supplied by the West away from the battlefield against Russian forces and that large numbers of Ukrainian targets are being daily destroyed by these drones. According to Ukrainian sources, Moscow deployed about 2,400 drones which cost $20,000 each, while the cost of an interceptor missile for these drones is between 400,000 and one million and two hundred thousand US dollars, which means that Russia can use these drones to drain off the West, which supports Ukraine economically.
Russia is expected to develop more advanced drones, which may make the situation of Ukraine and its allies more difficult militarily in light of the high cost of the war on Ukraine and its supporters, which reflected inflation in Western Europe and the United States began to reflect negatively on popular support in these countries for the war in Ukraine.