Tag Archives: war

The Future of Drone Warfare

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2023/10/the-future-of-drone-warfare.html

Ukraine is using $400 drones to destroy tanks:

Facing an enemy with superior numbers of troops and armor, the Ukrainian defenders are holding on with the help of tiny drones flown by operators like Firsov that, for a few hundred dollars, can deliver an explosive charge capable of destroying a Russian tank worth more than $2 million.

[…]

A typical FPV weighs up to one kilogram, has four small engines, a battery, a frame and a camera connected wirelessly to goggles worn by a pilot operating it remotely. It can carry up to 2.5 kilograms of explosives and strike a target at a speed of up to 150 kilometers per hour, explains Pavlo Tsybenko, acting director of the Dronarium military academy outside Kyiv.

“This drone costs up to $400 and can be made anywhere. We made ours using microchips imported from China and details we bought on AliExpress. We made the carbon frame ourselves. And, yeah, the batteries are from Tesla. One car has like 1,100 batteries that can be used to power these little guys,” Tsybenko told POLITICO on a recent visit, showing the custom-made FPV drones used by the academy to train future drone pilots.

“It is almost impossible to shoot it down,” he said. “Only a net can help. And I predict that soon we will have to put up such nets above our cities, or at least government buildings, all over Europe.”

Science fiction authors have been writing about drone swarms for decades. Now they are reality. Tanks today. Soon it will be ships (probably with more expensive drones). Feels like this will be a major change in warfare.

How to Surrender to a Drone

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2022/12/how-to-surrender-to-a-drone.html

The Ukrainian army has released an instructional video explaining how Russian soldiers should surrender to a drone:

“Seeing the drone in the field of view, make eye contact with it,” the video instructs. Soldiers should then raise their arms and signal they’re ready to follow.

After that the drone will move up and down a few meters, before heading off at walking pace in the direction of the nearest representatives of Ukraine’s army, it says.

The video also warns that the drone’s battery may run low, in which case it will head back to base and the soldiers should stay put and await a fresh one.

That one, too, should be met with eye contact and arms raised, it says.

Incredible.

Smartphones and Civilians in Wartime

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2022/06/smartphones-and-civilians-in-wartime.html

Interesting article about civilians using smartphones to assist their militaries in wartime, and how that blurs the important legal distinction between combatants and non-combatants:

The principle of distinction between the two roles is a critical cornerstone of international humanitarian law­—the law of armed conflict, codified by decades of customs and laws such as the Geneva Conventions. Those considered civilians and civilian targets are not to be attacked by military forces; as they are not combatants, they should be spared. At the same time, they also should not act as combatants—­if they do, they may lose this status.

The conundrum, then, is how to classify a civilian who, with the use of their smartphone, potentially becomes an active participant in a military sensor system. (To be clear, solely having the app installed is not sufficient to lose the protected status. What matters is actual usage.) The Additional Protocol I to Geneva Conventions states that civilians enjoy protection from the “dangers arising from military operations unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.” Legally, if civilians engage in military activity, such as taking part in hostilities by using weapons, they forfeit their protected status, “for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities” that “affect[s] the military operations,” according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the traditional impartial custodian of International Humanitarian Law. This is the case even if the people in question are not formally members of the armed forces. By losing the status of a civilian, one may become a legitimate military objective, carrying the risk of being directly attacked by military forces.