Ukraine’s Yuzhnoye State Design Office is developing a loitering kamikaze drone, the state-owned defense manufacturer revealed.
According to the Ukrainian defense outlet Military, a prototype of the unnamed weapon will be launched from a range of manned and unmanned platforms, with testing reportedly planned for spring.
Ukraine’s Drone Industry
Once built, the drone will add to the growing list of unmanned aerial platforms the country’s defense industry has been developing in the last few years. In November 2020, the Kyiv-based Luch Design Bureau unveiled the country’s first combat drone, the Sokil-300 (Falcon-300).
Luch Design has proposed developing three versions of the drone according to the engines they will use, yielding a variance in range and performance.
The basic version will have a maximum range of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) with a cruising speed of 335 kilometers (208 miles) per hour.
A second version will allow a 1,300-kilometer (808-mile) range with a lower cruising speed of 275 kilometers (170 miles) per hour.
The final, long-range version will be able to fly 3,300 kilometers (2,050 miles) at 150 kilometers (93 miles) per hour.
Array of Drones
A few months after the unveiling, Ukrainian private defense firm Ramzay announced its development of an unmanned combat helicopter concept, the RZ-500.
The developer intends to build low-observable features into the gas-powered drone along with the capacity to carry missiles. The vehicle will reportedly fly up to 120 minutes with a service ceiling of 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) and a range of 300 km (186 miles).
Apart from developing combat drones, Ukrainian defense firms are also developing unmanned platforms. In December, Infozakhist Research and Production Center conducted the maiden test flight of its Gekata radio reconnaissance unmanned system comprising eight Ukrspecsystems PD-2 drones — four active and four spares — and a ground control station.
The low-cost unmanned Airborne Warning And Control System detects radio signals from ground and air sources in real-time, with the capacity to track up to 200 targets simultaneously and process up to 2.5 million impulses per second. It can reconnoiter a ground target from a distance of up to 450 kilometers (278 miles).