Ukraine builds ‘army of drones’: Report

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Ukraine is building a so-called “army of drones,” with people donating their hobby and commercial drones to the eastern European country, the BBC reported on Friday.

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Both Ukraine and Russia are using small consumer drones in the conflict to provide a live view of the enemy’s positions, Justin Bronk, of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) said in the BBC report.

“Both sides in Ukraine have been able to very rapidly exploit that real-time video picture, to call down artillery fire and quickly correct it so that it’s very, very accurate, even when using old school unguided artillery, on to enemy forces,” Bronk said.

The proposed collection of drones is a complex program involving procurement, maintenance and replacement, as well as pilot training, according to Ukraine, the British broadcaster said.

“The army of drones will allow us to constantly monitor the 2,470 km-long front line and to field an effective response to enemy attacks, using modern technology,” Col Oleksii Noskov, assistant commander-in-chief of Ukraine's armed forces said in the BBC report.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine's minister of digital transformation, told the BBC via email that the first goal of the campaign was to purchase tactical drones which have a 100-mile range and are equipped with a sophisticated camera, GPS and mapping tools.

Drones that are well enough equipped to be used by Ukraine are being sent to the country via two warehouses, one in Poland and the other in the US.

The campaign, which was launched on Friday, has already raised $6.8 million, enabling the purchase of two military UAVs – drones, Fedorov said.

Bronk said that throughout the war Ukrainians have been very inventive in finding ways to source and then use commercial, as well as military-grade drones, the BBC report said.

This includes "using them as improvised loitering munitions to strike targets at significant distance, including, recently, an oil refinery in Rostov with a commercial grade UAV with an improvised warhead.”

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