I answered most of the other replies, but I generally like to save the best for last. I earnestly look forward to being told I'm full of crap by people who know what they're talking about, and you do know what you're talking about. That helps me learn. Prove me wrong, and I'm grateful.

And it makes replying all the harder when my 18 mo.-old grandson is SO fascinated by the keyboard and power cords of my laptop :)

Please take no offense, but to compare the disparity of tanks v. drones to aircraft v. SAMs is a false comparison. In the latter, neither one has the advantage of the high ground, and while SAMs are usually significantly faster than aircraft, the degree of the disparity is incomparable to that between drones and tanks.

Concerning the Pearl Harbor comparison, the reason I referred to that particular battle is that while you are right that in purely military terms, it is inaccurate to put such significance on that one battle, but Pearl Harbor is the battle that cemented the change not only in the minds of the American public and our federal government, but especially the minds of those in America's War Department (since they didn't seem to get a clue when the Brits attacked the Italians at Taranto).

It's like looking at Trafalgar and saying the victory was actually due to the victory at the Battle of the Nile, the generations of experience, the overall professionalism, and the deckplate training of the British tars compared to those of any other navy of the day. You'd be absolutely right...but it was the battle of Trafalgar itself that cemented the perception.

Can drones hold ground? Of course not. But in the modern battlespace, neither can tanks - not by themselves. They require not only infantry support (especially in increasingly-common urban conflict zones) but also local air superiority. Without air superiority, tanks and their crews are sitting ducks.

As I mentioned in a reply to someone else here, the low logistical cost of drones is effectively a force multiplier. The greatest advantage of drones is not their firepower or combat ability, but their *logistics*.

Drones not only require less material support and fuel, but they present no risk to always-precious pilots and their turnaround time between missions is significantly reduced. When a force can produce more of a weapons system for less, supply it more easily, put fewer people at risk, almost completely eliminate the human fatigue factor, and greatly reduce the turnaround time between missions - that's a force multiplier.

Now put that weapons system in the air against a *much*-slower and easily-detected target, and you've got the conditions for the Iraqi highway of death all over again.

There's three ways I can think of that tanks could be defensible: electronic counter-measures, hardened top armor and more-capable trophy systems, and accompaniment by effective anti-air systems. With the exception of the ECM, the other measures add significantly more to the logistics burden of the target force when the main advantage that drones provide vis-a-vis ground armor is already logistical in nature.

Lastly, while tanks are sitting ducks when the opposing force has air superiority, the same is not necessarily true of the drone-heavy force. If Armenia were to somehow magically sweep all the Azerbaijani manned fighters and bombers from the air, the smaller drones are still difficult to detect, much less target and interdict, and so the Azerbaijani drones could still be effective against Armenian armor and infantry.

While I stand by the claims I made in my article, I earnestly appreciate the challenge you presented, that forced me to better explain the crucial logistical side of the issue. I look forward to your reply :)

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Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.

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