Drones scout enemy positions, adjust artillery fire, and strike enemy army positions and formations. BC collected information about Ukrainian UAVs in service with the Ukrainian army.
Drones and UAVs are among the top three most urgent needs for the Ukrainian army. Despite the fact that the Armed Forces receive thousands of drones from volunteers, international partners and the state, the need for them is calculated in the tens of thousands, because they are constantly lost, they are consumables.
The reasons for the losses are different. This includes destruction on the battlefield, damage due to untrained personnel and the operation of enemy electronic warfare radio stations that jam or intercept the control of UAVs.
Currently, on the front lines, Ukrainian defenders use dozens of types of civilian and military UAVs, both manufactured by other countries and by domestic manufacturers.
At the same time, Ukrainian developers, having the opportunity to test samples during intensive combat and active EW action, are constantly working on increasing the stability of drones in conditions of enemy electronic warfare and air defense (air defense).
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be conventionally divided into four classes. All of them use the Ukrainian military during this war.
First class — these are micro-drones, devices usually used for civilian purposes. The main models of this class, presented in Ukraine and actively used at the front, are UAVs of the Chinese company DJI and American Autel.
They are compact and easy to use. A person who has never used drones before can learn the basic skills of controlling these devices in a few hours. Such UAVs have a limited range of use and a short duration of autonomous operation - they can be continuously in the air for no more than five hours.
Second class — medium-class drones used at the tactical level and performing reconnaissance functions. This includes Ukrainian UAVs "Stork-100" and "Fury". The devices were created specifically for military purposes and can stay in the air for three hours.
Third class — operational-tactical class drones capable of working continuously in the sky for up to 10 hours, and also have an increased radius of action, which allows them to work in reconnaissance behind enemy lines and are used in planning military operations. This type of UAV includes multi-purpose Ukrainian-made PD-2 and Raybird-3 drones.
Fourth class – strategic UAVs, or combat (shock) UAVs. These include, for example, the Turkish combat drone Bayraktar TB-2. It can stay in the air for up to 24 hours, conduct reconnaissance and carry guided bombs.
BC has selected Ukrainian military UAVs that have passed certification and are in serial production.
The majority of Ukrainian drone manufacturers who have passed certification and cooperate with the military began manufacturing drones at the turn of 2014-2015, when military operations in Ukraine were limited to the territory of Donbas.
Well-known brands in the UAV market include the products of the companies "Athlon-Avia", Skyeton, DeViRo, "Ukrspecssystems" and UA Dynamics.
The manufacturer of the unmanned aircraft complex "Furia" is the research and production enterprise "Athlon-Avia", which was registered in 2014. The "Furia" complex is a regular means of artillery reconnaissance units. Initially, it was developed on the manufacturer's own initiative, it began to participate in combat operations as early as 2014.
In addition, "Athlon-Avia" developed barrage ammunition "Thunder".
Now, like many other drone manufacturers, Athlon-Avia has a huge production load. In previous years, the volume of contracts amounted to two to three dozen complexes per year. This year, the company has had a tenfold increase in production, sometimes shipping more than 10 complexes per month.
The company cooperates with both state orders and volunteer organizations.
The price of the "Furia" complex depends on the configuration, at the minimum it can cost $60,000. In the most extensive configuration, the complex cost about $160,000.
The Skyeton company has been operating since 2006, starting as a manufacturer of piloted sports aircraft. In addition, he is engaged in the production of various robots. Including equipment that can stay in the air for a long time and, with the help of sensors, collect information.
The Raybird drone can collect information around the clock and transmit it to a ground station at a distance of 100-150 km.
The final cost of the drone depends on the sensors that the device carries on board. The price of a system consisting of several UAVs and a ground station can reach a million dollars.
Before the full-scale war, the company supplied 3-5 systems to different countries. Now the application is for more than 25-30 systems only for Ukraine.
PD-2 is a Ukrainian drone of the operational-tactical class. It is manufactured by the Kyiv company UkrSpecSystems.
The company started manufacturing UAVs in 2014 in cooperation with the volunteer fund Narodnyi Projekt.
The development of the first complex was paid for by sponsors, and the funds for the second one were raised by volunteers. That's why the drone was named People's Drone, or PD for short.
The total length of the PD-2 flight route (on one tank) can reach 1000 kilometers or more. At the same time, the control radius reaches 180 km.
First, the company's aircraft took off from the runway. Currently, PD UAVs use a special device for takeoff that allows them to take off vertically in any conditions.
Since the beginning of the war, producers of critical products in Ukraine have been subjected to rocket attacks. One such production was the UkrSpecSystems enterprise. Now, in order to diversify risks, the company's capacities have been transferred to different regions, including abroad.
The Dnipro-based company DeViRo is the manufacturer of the Leleka 100 UAV, which is also one of the most popular domestic UAVs used by the Armed Forces.
In May 2020, the co-owner of the company, Denis Cherednichenko, reported that since 2015, DeViRo has handed over more than 300 drones to the military, mostly the "Lerek-100".
The complex is designed for aerial reconnaissance and determining the exact geographic coordinates of objects in real-time in the conditions of a complex radio-electronic environment.
The drone is capable of developing a speed of up to 120 km/h and adjusting fire on enemy targets at a depth of up to 50 km. The maximum flight height is 1500 m, and the guaranteed length of the route is 100 km. It can stay in the air for 2-2.5 hours.
In addition, the company manufactures RAM II UAV kamikaze drones.
Kamikaze drone RAM II UAV
It was on them that Ukrainians collected 352 million hryvnias in one day after the massive Russian missile attack on Ukraine.
The RAM II UAV kamikaze drone is a barrage munition developed on the basis of the Leleka-100 reconnaissance UAV.
Flight radius - up to 30 km, flight time - up to an hour, cruising speed - 70 km/h, maximum altitude - 1000 m. Weight of the drone - 8 kg, including the weight of the warhead - 3 kg.
It is equipped with thermobaric, armor-piercing and high-explosive fragmentation ammunition. RAM II UAV is launched from a catapult from the ground or a pickup truck, deployment time is 10 minutes.
It is used to destroy anti-aircraft systems, armored vehicles and concentrations of enemy manpower.
The drone can perform a reconnaissance function because it is equipped with a camera with a 10-fold zoom.
The Ukrainian strike-reconnaissance unmanned complex Punisher (Karatel) has been approved by the Ministry of Defense for use by units of the Special Operations Forces (SSO).
The drone was developed by Ukrainian engineers-veterans of combat operations in Donbas, who united in the company UA Dynamics.
The Punisher is a reusable strike drone for delivering high-precision air strikes behind enemy lines. Priority targets for the drone are command posts, electronic warfare equipment, air defense equipment, ammunition and fuel depots, and mechanized infantry.
The flight range of the drone is 45 km, the speed is 190 km/h, the height is 100-400 meters. The drone is powered by an almost silent electric motor that leaves no heat trace.
Punisher delivers high-precision strikes with combat projectiles in the deep rear of the enemy.
Thanks to the built-in ballistic calculator in the ground control station, the drone from a height of hundreds of meters and at a speed of more than 100 km/h hits a target measuring 4 by 2 meters.
The Ukrainian "Punisher" has destroyed electronic warfare stations, ammunition warehouses and infantry bases.
Punisher drones are created with the funds of volunteers and donations from Ukrainians.