Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ukroboronprom
Popular Mechanics: Ukraine's Drone Army Was Born In a Crucible of Conflict
Ukraine is building an unmanned air force for 21st-century warfare
On the eve of combat, Ukraine's unmanned aerial forces were woefully out of date.
Almost three years ago, when confrontation appeared imminent over Russia's annexation of Crimea, Ukraine's military relied on Soviet-era Tu-143 "Flight" drones, a technologically inferior warbird that didn't even have video cameras. These bygone drones shot stills on film that had to be developed afterward. Predictably, in the opening salvos of conflict, Russian-backed separatists easily shot them down.
Ukraine desperately needed replacements, for reconnaissance and, ideally, for attack. There was only one problem—money, or rather a severe lack of it. The country's defense procurement budget is about $500 million with nearly a quarter of that "disappearing" into the mire of political corruption. Considering only one U.S.-made RQ-4 Global Hawk costs nearly $130 million, Ukraine needed to get creative.
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WNU Editor: This is interesting .... Ukraine company debuts tank-busting unmanned ground vehicle (Defense News).