Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has ordered the creation of a separate military branch dedicated solely to drone warfare.
In a recent evening address, Zelensky revealed that he had already instructed the Cabinet and the General Staff to work out the details of establishing the force within the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
“I have just signed a decree which will launch the creation of a separate branch within our armed forces – a drone systems force,” he announced.
Zelensky said he came up with the decision after seeing the combat success of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on land, in the skies, and at sea.
He credited drones for their significant contributions on the battlefield, effectively repelling Russian assaults and shifting the balance of power in the Black Sea.
“The large-scale destruction of enemy troops and their equipment is also due to drones,” the president remarked.
Under the decree, the Cabinet and the General Staff of Ukraine will submit a written result of their study to the policy-making National Security and Defence Council.
Once established, the drone systems force will reportedly focus on improving the country’s work with drones, which includes increasing production, systemizing their use, and ramping up soldier training.
It will also be responsible for creating special drone-specific units and attracting the best engineers to push for innovation for future drone warfare.
For Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, Zelensky’s decision will serve as a powerful impetus for the technological and innovative development of the Ukrainian military.
He echoed the president’s words, saying UAVs have indeed dramatically changed the situation on the battlefield.
Establishing a separate branch dedicated only to drone warfare is currently unusual for militaries.
The US armed forces, which possess a wide variety of combat drones, do not have a separate drone force as UAV operators are divided among various services.
Drone warfare expert Bruce Riedel from the Brookings Institution also said he was not aware of any other national military with a dedicated drone branch.
“None that I know of so it is a first,” he told NBC News. “Israel was the first to develop drone warfare but they don’t have a special branch of service.”