Europe should look carefully at the military lessons of this conflict, and not dismiss it as a minor war between poor countries. Since the cold war, most European armies have phased out gun-based self-propelled air-defence systems.
Man-portable air-defence systems (MANPADS) like the Stinger and Igla – the primary short-range air-defence systems in Europe – have little chance of acquiring such small targets like loitering munitions or small drones invisible to the operator.
In the recent Nagorno-Karabakh war more MANPADS were destroyed by drones than they could shoot down drones themselves.
No European army has a high-resolution sensor-fusion- or plot-fusion-capable armoured air-defence system to protect its own armour. Only France and Germany have (short range) anti-drone jammers and base-protection assets.
Most of the EU’s armies – especially those of small and medium-sized member states – would do as miserably as the Armenian army in a modern kinetic war. That should make them think – and worry.
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