Lessons on Low-Cost Deterrence and Drones from Ukraine

The following video is from Mark Kelley, Sr editor of Wall Street Journal Opinion in which they covered the speaking at the 2024 AFA Warfare Symposium. Gen. James Hecker described what the U.S. has learned from unmanned aerial vehicles aka UAVs – in Ukraine and how they will change warfare.


0:01 we learned when somebody’s back is up against the wall. they come up with a lot Creative Solutions and if they don’t have a lot of money like Ukraine doesn’t.

0:12 They can figure it out speaking at the 2024 Air and Space forces Association Symposium General James Hecker who works in NATO Air Command detailed what the US is learning from the war in Ukraine and how it will change Warfare going into the future we give them some exquisite

0:29weap happens some things that are pretty expensive um but that’s not going to do it alone and I think we’re finding that out as well as a United States Air Force.

0:39that we just can’t concentrate on the exquisite because we don’t have enough money to buy all the Exquisite stuff that we need so we have to also bring some low end stuff the war in Ukraine is entering its third year and Europe’s second biggest country is short of Manpower and ammunition and according to Ukraine’s Minister for digital transformation

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1:02 Michelo federov in certain areas of the front fpv or first-person-view drones are 1:09destroying more targets than artillery these are the drones where the operator wears goggles and then flies them like a kamakazi into the target so the unarmed drone would first find it and then they would send up the fast racer to go and actually strike it. obviously Russia too is putting uavs.

1:35 Obviously Russia too is putting uavs or unmanned aerial Vehicles into theater if they come in at 100 ft you can’t see them with a regular radar because you don’t have line-of-sight over the horizon because of the curvature of the earth and general Hecker says that Ukraine has had to improvise with ways to track them.

1:49 what they did, do they grabbed 8,000 cell phones and they put them on a six- foot pole and they put them all around the Ukraine and they put a microphone like this next to it so they could hear the one way uavs coming overhead.

2:09 Costs $500 they’re able to get headings they’re able to get velocity of these things not only were they cheap to produce but General Hecker says they could then share that information with some 200 mobile units using AAA that’s anti-aircraft artillery and they train a guy for six hours to sit in the triaa and look at an iPad that would show them where the uavs were coming in. they had

2:37 They had 84 of them that came in the other day, they tracked all 84 they shot down 80 with AAA that’s on the right side of the cost curve as opposed to shooting them down with Patriots and sm2 missiles and it’s not just with drones that Ukraine is being Innovative according to us and Ukrainian officials.

3:00 Ukraine’s Army brought down five Russian war planes last May using a repurposed Patriot missile battery in the meantime here Fighters can be seen using a self-made multiple launch rocket system installed on a pickup truck.

3:22 General Hecker says that other US adversaries are also taking advantage of uav’s relative ease of accessibility just think of what just happened. One Way

3:30 One way uavs put everyone in the game to include the houthis the crew of the guided missile destroyer USS Carney shot down three land attack cruise missiles and several drones that were launched by houthi forces in Yemen and when they did their attack on 18 October they had 21 come over at $7,000 a piece and we shot them down with $700,000 sm2 missiles that is not the right side of the cost curve.

3:57 I would love to have the Navy produce more directed energy that can shoot down a drone so I don’t have to use an expensive missile to shoot it down but what’s worse than not having that expensive missile shoot it down is hitting that two billion dollar ship with 300 Sailors on it we need to think about that to protect ourselves against that threat that’s going to come in swarms.

4:17 what the houthis did whatRussia’s doing is nothing compared to

4:19what we’re going to see with Rising threats across the world retaining air superiority means dominating domain awareness and general Hecker says that goes for members of NATO too not all of them can afford F-35s but they can all afford a $10,000 UAVs.

4:40 if we start doing the same thingwe’ll get 15 other partners involved they can launch and put a bunch of these if we have to across into Russia and now we can empty their magazines where they’re taking sa 22s sa 21s and 23s going after $10,000 one-way uavs that a partner produced and it cost us no money because they wanted to be part of the war and now we just found a way for them to be part of the war and really part of deterrence.

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