TechUkraine dramatically boosts "kamikaze" drone production to counter Russia

Ukraine dramatically boosts "kamikaze" drone production to counter Russia

A batch of armed FPV drones equipped with PG-7VL anti-tank grenades is ready.
A batch of armed FPV drones equipped with PG-7VL anti-tank grenades is ready.
Images source: © X | Special Kherson Cat
9:29 AM EST, March 1, 2024

Drones are pivotal in the Ukraine conflict, offering Ukrainians a tactical edge against the Russians. Despite the recent advancements by the Russians, the mass deployment of drones has enabled Ukrainians to inflict considerable losses, partially offsetting their limitations in artillery and aviation.

Commercial drones are utilized in diverse ways, from surveillance and artillery spotting to delivering medical supplies, locating the wounded or missing, supporting tanks, or executing kinetic strikes.

In recent operations, drones have been adapted to drop explosives or act as improvised loitering munitions—known as "kamikaze" drones. This strategy has proven effective against even the latest models of Russian tanks and individual soldiers.
The strategic deployment of drones allows Ukrainians to weaken Russian forces before an assault, drastically reducing their own casualties. However, facing Russian electronic warfare, drone losses can reach up to tens of thousands monthly.
Consequently, the expansion of Ukraine's production capabilities, now consuming parts typically reserved for hobbyists, comes as no surprise. Moreover, NATO countries have pledged to supply Ukraine with 1 million drones in 2024.

Maximizing Simplicity in Commercial Drones for Combat

The norm for "kamikaze" drones is the use of FPV models, built from scratch or heavily modified by stripping down to the essentials: frame, motors, rotors, batteries, and camera.

Ukrainians equip these drones with explosives using a detonating cord, transforming them into precise weapons capable of striking targets several hundred meters away. In attack footage, a visible cluster of wires is a detonator, triggering explosions upon impact.

During the spring and summer of 2023, these drones were invaluable for countering frequency jammers deployed by the Russians. Nonetheless, Ukrainians have managed to bypass Chinese-made jammers, though they still face challenges with more sophisticated systems like the R-330Zh Zhitel.

These countermeasures have impacted the efficacy of FPV drones, but they remain useful under certain conditions. For instance, commercial drones regain operational effectiveness when specialized drones, such as the Polish Warmate, take out Russian jammers.

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