SYPAQ Systems, a company based in Melbourne, Australia, has supplied the Armed Forces of Ukraine with multiple “Corvo Precision Payload Delivery System” (PPDS) drones.
These flat-pack drones are made of waxed cardboard and can be easily assembled and launched with a catapult. With a range of up to 75 miles (120 kilometers), they are specifically designed to provide direct delivery of ammunition, food, and medicine to the front line, as well as perform reconnaissance flights and drop small explosive devices.
To develop and supply these drones, the Australian government initiated a program and awarded a AU$1.1 million government contract. The PPDS is an expendable, low-cost drone capable of delivering supplies and equipment to areas beyond traditional logistics capabilities.
The flat-pack design enables easy shipping of 24 drones in pizza-sized boxes that fit on a pallet. These boxes also contain the drones’ assembly materials, tools, motors, and batteries.
Although the exact cost of the drones is undisclosed, it is estimated to be a few thousand dollars per unit, and the manufacturer delivers approximately 100 Australian drones per month. According to Yahoo News, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have already deployed over 60 of these drones to the front line, demonstrating their ability to operate under challenging conditions.
The Corvo Precision Payload Delivery System (PPDS) is capable of flying autonomously without operator control and utilizes GPS guidance if available. However, its control software can determine its position from speed and heading in the absence of GPS, allowing it to perform missions even under complete radio jamming conditions, which is crucial in Ukraine where Russian electronic warfare has taken down numerous drones.
After receiving feedback from end-users in Ukraine, the system was adapted for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. Equipped with a camera or other sensors, the drones will fly over Russian-occupied territory to gather information.
In February, Australia pledged to provide Ukraine with unmanned aerial systems valued at $33 million. Ukraine is significantly expanding its drone fleet with various new models, including the unique Corvo PPDS.
Although the PPDS is basic, it is still more advanced than some of the homemade drones that Ukrainian forces have successfully used for bombing, thanks to its advanced software.