On October 9, three storage facilities of the arsenal were exploded simultaneously and in the next 20 minutes, several others were exploded as well.
At the time of the explosion, the depots were filled by 50% – the most scarce and critical ammunition for the Armed Forces of Ukraine from the 6th military arsenal was previously relocated to other arsenals and bases with a protected type of storage. As of 3 PM, as a result of detonation, about 30% of the entire arsenal is on fire. The electricity and gas supply was reportedly cut off in the affected area. The Pryluky – Bakhmach railway service was suspended.
The most damaged storage facilities are those storing 120mm mortar shells, which are very valuable and “popular” ammunition, as well as 122mm howitzer shells, 125mm tank shells, and 122mm Grad rockets. Other types of ammunition were not affected.
As soon as Skyeton crew became aware of the occurred incident in Ichnia, the decision was made to take an active part in the search and rescue operations
After all, permissions had been obtained, unmanned aerial system Raybird-3 was packed and the crew moved to Ichnia area. Upon arrival in the affected area, the situation was analyzed immediately and appropriate tasks which should be carried out by Raybied-3 were defined
Due to UAV’s ability to operate autonomously, hardly accessible and dangerous areas can be explored by UAV without any threat to a pilot’s life.
It was too risky to use manned aircraft in some areas due to explosions of heavy shells. Explosion fragments were covering a huge area, thus there was a high risk to destroy aircraft with people on board. UAV let crew to stay safe and control even most dangerous places.
Another problem was the smoke covering everything around and making impossible to coordinate and navigate army, firefighters and emergency services. Raybird – 3 spent around 5 hours in the sky coordinating all of them. It helped to choose the best place for army camp and let know firefighters where to begin and how to react further. Also, an onboard payload of Raybird – 3 gave a possibility to locate most dangerous places where people were not allowed to enter due to a high risk for life.
As soon as the main mission was done and the fire went out, long-range UAS Raybird – 3 spent 2 hours flying around to create a highly detailed map of 100km2 area for post-disaster data collection. That was the final mission after which bird was packed and Skyeton crew moved back to the base.
As a result, navigation and coordination data were available for all emergency services during a disaster. All services were working as one squad because of the eye in the sky. Precise map of the area helped to assess damage and to provide coordinates of shells which were spread around the huge area and needed to be picked up and neutralized as soon as possible.