A new high-tech weapon is being sent to Ukraine in hopes that all of Russia’s superior numbers will add up to nothing.
A drone called the Phoenix Ghost is being deployed to Ukraine as Russia builds up its forces for what is expected to be a massive onslaught in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
The U.S. is sending 121 drones to Ukraine, the Pentagon announced last month.
The suicide drone is made by Aevex Aerospace of Solana Beach, California.
The report says that many of the physical details and capabilities of the Phoenix Ghost are kept secret for security reasons.
However, the report outlines what makes it distinctive.
“Defense analysts say it appears the Phoenix Ghost will loiter in the sky, quietly looking for targets. Once it finds one, the drone goes into a dive and rams the object, setting off its explosive warhead,” the report said.
“Analysts speculate that it is a comparatively small weapon that could be hard to see against the cloud cover that shrouds much of Ukraine in late April and in May,” the report said.
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“We can’t talk about details,” said Brian Raduenz, a former Air Force officer and CEO of Aevex Aerospace, referring to comments made last month by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
During an April 21 news conference, Kirby said the drone “had been in development before the invasion, clearly. The Air Force was working this.”
“And in discussions with the Ukrainians, again, about their requirements, we believed that this particular system would very nicely suit their needs, particularly in eastern Ukraine. And so, it was already in development, but we will continue to move that development in ways that are attuned to Ukrainian requirements for unmanned aerial systems of a tactical nature in eastern Ukraine.
“I am just not going to get into great detail about the specifications here. I would just tell you that this unmanned aerial system is designed for tactical operations. In other words, largely and, but not exclusively to attack targets. It, like almost all unmanned aerial systems, of course, has optics. So it can also be used to give you a sight picture of what it’s seeing, of course. But its principal focus is attack,” Kirby continued.
Kirby said that the drone’s “purpose is akin to that of the Switchblade, which we have been talking about in the past, which is basically a one-way drone and attack drone. And that’s essentially what this is designed to do.”
The Switchblade drone, a one-time use unmanned aerial vehicle is a powerful weapon that can dive bomb its targets, such as tanks & artillery nests, at a range of up to 30 miles & is being supplied by the hundreds to Ukraine for use against Russian forces. https://t.co/kkWgcBh4aO pic.twitter.com/5Mm0m10ytm
— CBS Sunday Morning 🌞 (@CBSSunday) May 1, 2022
The Switchblade drone comes in a variety of sizes, from small ones that can be carried in a backpack to larger ones to destroy tanks.
“It’s a one-and-done drone,” said Wahid Nawabi, who runs Aerovironment, the company that makes the Switchblade, according to CBS.
The drone “fits inside this tube,” he said. “At the bottom we have what is known as a gas generator. It pushes the Switchblade out. Once it’s clear of the tube, the wings automatically flip out, and it happens very quickly, just like a switchblade.”