OIf the Ukrainian account is correct, then the missile cruiser Moskva was hit and sunk by a land-launched Neptune cruise missile. It is unclear exactly how the Ukrainians managed to disable the anti-aircraft defenses of the Russian flagship in the Black Sea. The Ukrainian side claims that Turkish-developed combat drones also played a role in the alleged attack.
TB2 drones may have transmitted target coordinates, allowing a cruise missile to be launched undetected. The laser-guided missile warheads aboard the drones themselves would arguably be too small to cause serious damage to a missile cruiser unless they struck and detonated the heavy warheads with pinpoint accuracy. edge of the Moskva. There was also speculation on Friday whether a bombardment by several drones could have distracted the Moskva’s missile defense system.
Over the past few weeks, Turkish TB2 drones of the Ukrainian army had already destroyed Russian Buk mobile air defense systems and the tops of tank columns, slowing their progress. A convoy of feared Chechen fighters, supposed to invade Kyiv on behalf of Kremlin-allied Chechen leader Ramazan Kadyrov, has apparently been stopped thanks to drone attacks.
Acquiring drones was a priority for Ukraine
Drones played an important role in stopping the advance of the Russian military, says Turkish military expert and former officer Murat Aslan, who now works for the Seta think tank. “Without them, the Ukrainian army might have already lost the war.”
Turkish drones have proven effective against Russian weapons on several occasions. In Libya, they disabled the Russian Pantsir air defense system of Khalifa Haftar’s rebel army and turned the war in favor of the national unity government in Tripoli. In Azerbaijan’s war against Armenia, they destroyed much of the Armenian artillery and many Pantsir or Buk air defense systems. For the Ukrainian army, the acquisition of drones was also a priority.
During his last visit to Kyiv before the start of the war on February 3, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan even signed an agreement with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to jointly produce the drone in Ukraine, which Turkey previously only supplied. Other agreements concerned the joint production of propulsion systems for aviation and rocket technologies.
However, drones alone do not win a battle. They must be integrated with other combat systems. Aslan describes them as a “multiplier of existing forces”. Drone strikes give ground forces the advantage of being able to immediately exploit weak points. Once the Russian incursion began, it allowed Ukraine to buy time and ultimately establish a strategic balance with Russian forces.
The success of the TB2 combat drone against Russian conventional weapons is based on two factors: The radar of Russian Pantsir systems can hardly detect the TB2 due to its small size and low noise level. Additionally, the drones are equipped with smart munitions that use lasers to find and hit targets. A warship’s radar decoy would be powerless against it.