The 2019 attacks on the oil processing facilities in Saudi Arabia and the effectiveness of combating Armenian long-range anti-aircraft systems have highlighted the nature and scale of the challenges for air defense posed by unmanned aircraft systems. The aim of this article is to summarize the lessons learned from the use of unmanned systems in recent conflicts, to assess the development of trends in such systems, and to discuss the implications of those developments for air defense. This article discusses the impact of the development of unmanned aircraft systems on air defense concepts, their organization, and the effectiveness of this defense for the defended assets. It also tries to highlight how unmanned aircraft systems may reduce the survivability of air defense systems. This research is based on publicly available documents related to air defense and unmanned aircraft systems as well as selected analytical studies on the implications of the development and use of unmanned aircraft systems for air defense. As such, this research identifies the possible challenges related to ensuring effective air defense against attacks by unmanned aircraft systems, resulting from the costs of defense despite the availability of technological solutions. It also raises the issue of survivability of air defense systems if attacked by unmanned aircraft systems.
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