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18 Feb, 2024 20:28

UK to give Ukraine ‘swarming’ drones – Bloomberg

British officials hope the autonomous craft will help Kiev compensate for its artillery shortage, the news site reported
UK to give Ukraine ‘swarming’ drones – Bloomberg

Ukraine will soon receive thousands of AI-enabled drones capable of autonomously “swarming” Russian targets, Bloomberg has reported. However, Moscow has repeatedly pointed out that Western “wonder weapons” have thus far failed to change Kiev’s fortunes on the battlefield.

The UK is working with the US to acquire the still-in-development technology, Bloomberg stated on Saturday, citing “people familiar with the matter.”

“Western military planners developing the technology believe it could allow Ukraine to overwhelm certain Russian positions with the unmanned vehicles,” the American news outlet wrote, explaining that “the AI-enabled drones would be deployed in large fleets, communicating with each other to target enemy positions without each one having to be controlled by a human operator.”

Bloomberg’s sources said that the drones could be sent to Ukraine “within months,” but that this timeline could possibly be extended.

Almost every new weapons system delivered to Ukraine has been reported on in a similar way by the Western media, with anonymous military and intelligence sources first describing new kinds of tanks, drones, and armored vehicles as “game-changers” that will help Ukraine retake its lost territory, before they fade from the headlines without fundamentally altering the course of the conflict.

“There is no ‘wunderwaffe’ capable of drastically changing the situation on the battlefield, whether it is heavy tanks, air-defense systems, multiple launch rocket systems, or howitzers,” Russian ambassador to Germany Sergey Nechayev remarked in December, after Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova used the same term to describe cluster bombs supplied to Kiev by the US. 

‘Wunderwaffe’, a German term meaning ‘wonder weapon’, was coined by the Nazi propaganda machine in the late stages of WWII to reassure the German people that the Allies could be defeated through technologically advanced weapons like jet fighters and V2 rockets. 

Drones, however, have proven useful for both sides in the Ukraine conflict, with Russian and Ukrainian forces using inexpensive and commercially-available FPV drones to drop explosives on each other’s infantry. Russia has made extensive use of ‘Lancet’ kamikaze drones to destroy Ukrainian armor, while Ukraine’s Western-provided naval drones have allowed Kiev to strike at Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, a feat that would have been beyond the capabilities of the Ukrainian navy’s manned craft.

Bloomberg’s sources said that the AI-controlled drones would help Ukraine compensate for its shortage of artillery shells. After Russian forces captured the key Donbass town of Avdeevka on Saturday, Ukrainian and American officials blamed the artillery shortage for the loss of the city.