The small unmanned planes were supposed to help Ukrainian troops better monitor their surroundings, track enemy troop movements, surveil their borders and other similar missions. Kremlin-backed armed groups and Russian “volunteers” had access to their own drones, as well as armored vehicles and heavy artillery, all of which put Kiev’s security forces at a distinct disadvantage. In principle the Ravens would have been a step, if a small one, toward a fair fight.
But in December 2016, Reuters dropped its bombshell report. According to their sources, the RQ-11s were not only under-performing in the Eastern European country, they might actually have been putting Ukrainian troops in danger. At issue was the Raven’s analog control system, which had not been a major factor for American troops fighting terrorists and insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“From the beginning, it was the wrong decision to use these drones,” Natan Chazin, a