Conflicts & War

Drones, the Ukrainian army’s eyes in the sky

By Rostyslav Averchuk

Lviv, Ukraine, Sep 8 (EFE).- Thousands of drones, ranging from relatively cheap, mass-produced appliances to sophisticated small airplanes, are playing a key role in saving the lives of Ukrainian troops at war.

The drones have multiple uses such as allowing ground forces to watch battles unfolding from afar, target artillery or disable the enemy’s equipment with targeted attacks.

One of the heroes of the first stage of war, the Bayraktar TB2 drone, has made an impressive comeback both to the frontline and Ukrainian social media, which has been flooded with videos of its strikes against Russian military equipment.

But while the high-end Bayraktar has been at the center of attention, it is the less sophisticated drones that have become indispensable for each and every Ukrainian frontline unit.

Thousands of mass-produced commercial Mavic and Autel drones are now flown by Ukrainian soldiers.

“Costing only $3,000, they can destroy a tank worth $3 million,” Danylo, a drone operator from the 93rd “Holodny Yar” mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian army, tells Efe.

These drones can carry grenades and other explosives that can be dropped onto enemy troops or equipment.

Although Danylo is yet to receive the necessary training to engage in such missions, the drones he operates have become his unit’s eyes.

Flying above the battlefield, the drones provide valuable information on the whereabouts of the Russian forces, helping Ukrainians make quick and accurate decisions.

The Russians are also using drones as well as radio electronic warfare systems, which can cause the unmanned devices to lose connection with their operators, Danylo explains.

Western sanctions, however, have meant Russia is suffering from a shortage of drones, he adds.

But with many drones lost in battle, Ukrainians could also soon face their own shortage with more resources needed to keep the supply constant and scale up the production of Ukrainian army-tailored drones.

So far, most of the drones have been purchased in bulk by charity foundations as well as smaller fundraisers, although the state is also starting to be more proactive.

“Apart from 10,000 small-range drones, we need 200 longer-range devices,” Mykhailo Fedorov, minister of digital transformation, had said in July at the launching of the “Army of Drones” project.

The first 100 drones arrived in Ukraine in August.EFE


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