Technology can be a powerful force for good, but when used to create advanced killing machines, technology is a force for evil and death. How does the world combat this?
One answer is more technology such as the Turkish made Bayraktar TB-2 MALE UCAV (medium-altitude, long-endurance, unmanned, combat aerial vehicle) that the Ukrainians are using to kill Russian tanks, armored personnel carriers, trucks, missile launchers, command & control vehicles, artillery, and fuel trains.
One reason why those interminable convoys are stalled is because the Ukrainians are destroying fuel trains.
The Big Mystery
One of the big mysteries of the Ukraine conflict is why haven’t the Russians seized control of the skies?
American doctrine mandates that the US control the skies immediately and we thought the Russians preached from the same hymnal, but it is a bloody mystery why they haven’t snatched the skies and held them to their bosom. Maybe they don’t know how or don’t have the chops to actually do it.
This Russian army is woefully inadequate when it comes to the ability to create, control, and run a combined arms battlespace wherein command & control uses the linked and leveraged deadly force of air, infantry, armor, artillery, and missile forces to find, fix, and annihilate their enemies.
Instead, we’ve been treated to gargantuan, tens-of-miles-long columns of rolling stock stopped and unable to get into the fight.
The US Air Force calls this a “target rich environment” while the Ukrainians are responding by killing them using tech gear like the Bayraktar TB-2 with its versatile armament package, just the ticket for the armor-heavy, road-bound invader looking to rendezvous with his Maker.
The Bayraktar TB-2
The Bayraktar TB-2 was developed by an Massachusetts Institute of Technology grad student, Selcuk Tayraktar. As of recently, the seven year old drone had completed 500,000 hours of flight and is a battle hardened bit of kit. It is a huuuuuuuge equalizer in the tradition of Sam Colt.
This tech platform can takeoff, land, cruise, maneuver, and fire ordnance under the control of a pilot, payload operator, and a mission commander from a remote ground control station. It employs incredible best-of-breed avionics in navigation, imaging, and targeting.
It can loiter on station for up to 27 hours — hello, Russia, we’ve been expecting you at that particular crossroads with the BBQ joint and the gas station, enjoy a chopped pork sandwich while we stick a missile in your left nostril, Ivan — at an operational altitude of 18,000 feet and a service ceiling of 25,000. It can range out to 150 km at a speed of 70 knots with a top speed of 120 knots.
This is a very slow aircraft and it is a mystery why Russian anti-air, radar, electronic jamming, and other capabilities have not wiped it from the sky, but they have not.
The Bayraktar can haul and deploy the most advanced laser-guided smart munitions (from multiple in the air using precision capable of putting the period at the end of this sentence.
The Bayraktar TB-2 was first acquired by the Ukrainian army in 2019 and now they are buying as many as Turkey will sell them.
Before the start of the war, Ukraine and Turkey were manufacturing Bayraktar TB-2s inside Ukraine with the first production deployed in July 2021. The Russians hit this facility with their own precision guided munitions.
On their first operational introduction, the Bayraktar TB-2 took out artillery in the southeast of Ukraine — before the Russian invasion — in the Donbass Region. This attack halted Russian separatist shelling of Ukrainian positions.
In the Ukraine war, the drones were used immediately to kill tanks, armored personnel carriers, trucks, surface to air missile systems (the kind of Russian gear intended to kill drones), MLRS (multiple launch rocket systems), and electronic warfare jamming systems (also of the type intended to jam drone systems) and my personal favorite — FUEL TRAINS. The Ukrainians have been killing Russian fuel trains and starving deployed fuel consumers.
When you see video on Twitter of individual Russian tanks being destroyed with no obvious Ukrainian combat formation nearby, think — hmmm, was that the Bayraktar TB-2?
Culturally, the Bayraktar TB-2 has become an iconic development with a ballad written and played. Here it is:
Bottom line it, Big Red Car
OK, here it is:
1. This is one more example of what a third rate, shitty little conscript army the Russians have.
2. This is a tech war in which a small nation like Ukraine can deploy tech like the Bayraktar RTB-2 and equalize the fight.
3. This is why we need to support Ukraine — THEY CAN BLOODY WELL WIN IF WE GET THEM THE GOD DAMN GEAR THEY NEED LIKE THE BAYRAKTAR TB-2.
4. This also supports the magnitude of Russian personnel losses. They are taking KIAs far from the FEBA (forward edge of the battle area) and the numbers are starting to really pile up.
I personally have come to believe that more than 17,000 Russians are KIA and as many as 3X that are WIA meaning the Ukrainians have stood down an entire Russian corps of as many as four divisions. This is just unbelievable.
If a month ago, anybody had said that the Ukrainians would have absorbed the first Russian blow and remained standing, gone over to the offense and pushed back Russian units, that the Russians would have pulled back units for refitting, and that the Ukrainians would be killing Russian gear from the skies using drones, I would have sought psychiatric intervention, but that is exactly what is happening right now.
If we will only give the Ukrainians the gear, they will do the killing and every tank or Russian solider they kill is one less for Nato to worry about.
Glory Ukraine! You marvelous, wonderful, warriors and you tough, resilient people. You deserve the world’s support.