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Ukraine Has Built A Battle Drone Called SkyKnight – And It Can Carry Bombs

Ukraine Claims It Built A Battle Drone Called SkyKnight That Can Carry A Bomb

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense has made a significant announcement via its Telegram account, revealing the creation of its bomber drone named the “SkyKnight.

Unveiled on August 19, 2023, this new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is distinctively compact but has been optimized for combat applications. While resembling commercial drones in some ways, the “SkyKnight” has undergone modifications to transform it into a formidable tool of warfare. According to the limited information shared on the Telegram post, the freshly introduced UAV boasts a compact design featuring four limbs, each equipped with dual rotors. A sensor package is evident at its front, alongside a downward-facing camera. The drone’s battery pack power source is affixed to its rear, and its payload munition is positioned beneath its body.

Notably, the payload carries an estimated weight of approximately 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg), a substantial load for a drone of its size. To put this in context, the payload’s weight alone is several times that of a conventional hand grenade, posing a significant operational challenge for the diminutive drone.

“This can be used against stationary and moving targets – anything from tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, and other systems, to infantry units on the move and in trenches, and against any target that is identified as a Russian military one,” Samuel Bendett, an analyst at the Center for Naval Analysis and an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for New American Security, explained. He emphasized the payload’s potential effectiveness and devastating impact, citing previous instances of similar attacks carried out by quadcopters.

While the exact role of the “SkyKnight” is not explicitly stated, it is presumed that it would serve in trench bombing, a tactic employed by explosive-armed drones in the ongoing conflict. This strategy has been utilized in the Donbas region since 2018 and persisted during the broader conflict from February 2022, involving a range of small to medium-sized drones in both Ukrainian and opposing arsenals. The scale of drone utilization in the Ukrainian conflict is unprecedented, as noted by Ulrike Franke, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

The “SkyKnight” stands as a domestically developed drone, prioritizing functional design over aesthetics and sharing components with hobbyist drones. Due to DJI’s suspension of drone sales to Ukraine and Russia, domestic drone production has become essential. As noted by Franke, Chinese manufacturer DJI remains influential in the drone landscape, with their drones, particularly the Mavic series, still being extensively used and sought-after despite the suspension of official operations in the region.

Distinguished by its ability to approach operator-selected targets even without communication autonomously, the “SkyKnight” reflects Ukraine’s substantial investment in domestic combat drone production. This move is driven by the Russian military’s need to counter the growing deployment of quadcopter and FPV-type drones.

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