US sends 120 new unmanned drones to Ukraine

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal delivers remarks in a meeting with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., April 21, 2022. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)


Washington — The United States is sending a new unmanned aerial weapons system to Ukraine which Washington says fits the needs of the Ukrainian military.

The Phoenix Ghost Tactical Unmanned Aerial System is a drone system developed by the Air Force, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby explained Thursday.

More than 120 of these new drones are set to be shipped to Ukraine as part of a new $800 million US government military aid pact.

The development of the Phoenix Ghost drone system had already started before the Ukraine war break out, Kirby explained.

The Phoenix Ghost system, he said, will likely require minimal training for Ukrainian users who are already experienced in operating other, similar equipment like Switchblade drones.

The Switchblades are mini-drones which initially launch without a target. They can then circle the ground for a long time, waiting for a target to attack. Then they self destruct.

The Phoenix Ghost system “provides similar capabilities to the Switchblade series of unmanned systems — similar capabilities, but not exact,” Kirby said.

But he was not willing to elaborate further.

The Pentagon would be “working through training requirements directly with the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” he added.

So far, the US has offered Ukraine eight drawdown packages of security assistance.

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