Drone-Era Warfare Shows the Operational Limits of Air Defense Systems (excerpt)
(Source: Rand Corp.; issued July 02, 2020)
While most countries struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic, the civil wars in Syria and Libya have become battlegrounds for foreign states backing different local sides. External powers have intervened in both civil wars supplying advanced conventional weapons that have intensified the conflicts, but not all the weapons have performed as claimed.

Perhaps the most startling example of this is how ineffective modern Russian air defense systems have been at countering drones and low-flying missiles. In the face-off between expensive air defensive systems and lower cost offensive drones and low-flying missiles, the offense is winning.

In recent weeks, drones supplied by Turkey (PDF) in support of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord have reportedly destroyed the Russian Pantsir short-range air defense systems (SHORADS) that the opposition Libyan National Army (LNA) used to protect their forces.

The inability of the LNA to protect their forces has turned the tide of the conflict and is a reminder of how difficult effective air defense is in an era of comparatively inexpensive armed drones and precision guided low-flying cruise missiles. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on the Rand website.

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