Ukrainian drone unit Aerorozvidka eager to strike at night “when Russians sleep”

By attacking Russian troops while they sleep, the Ukrainian drone unit Aerorozvidka has destroyed dozens of “priority targets.”

The drone unit started out as a group of Ukrainian civil defenders that used crowd-funding to get Aerorozvidka off the ground in 2014. The unit was very successful against the Russian invaders in Crimea at the time.

Since then, the organization became more professional and was integrated into the Armed Forces of in 2015. It now receives funding both from the Ukrainian as well as the general public, reports The Defense Post.

Since the start of the Russian invasion, Aerorozvidka, the air reconnaissance drone unit, has been very successful in taking out tanks, command trucks, and vehicles carrying electronic equipment.

“We strike at night, when Russians sleep,” Yaroslav Honchar, the drone unit’s commander, said from his base of operations in Kyiv, reports The Times.

Honchar explained that when it gets dark, the Russian army hides their tanks in village streets because they know that traditional Ukrainian artillery cannot risk hitting civilians.

Ukrainian Drone Unit Aerorozvidka Eager To Strike At Night &Quot;When Russians Sleep&Quot;

Aerorozvidka strikes the Russians at night

However, the ‘sleeping’ Russian convoys are the ideal targets for the drone unit Aerorozvidka which consists of 50 drone squads with highly trained drone pilots.

Drones, such as the with its thermal camera are used to locate the Russian military vehicles.

Once found, the drone unit looks for the most valuable target in the convoy. They then send a large, custom-built octocopter drone that is capable of dropping anti-tank grenades precisely on target.

The darkness of the night is the greatest advantage to Aerorozvidka as many of their drones are outfitted with thermal cameras.

“In the night it’s impossible to see our drones,” said an Aerorozvidka soldier, who asked not to be named for security reasons. “We look specifically for the most valuable truck in the convoy and then we hit it precisely and we can do it really well with very low collateral damage — even in the villages it’s possible. You can get much closer at night.”

Ukrainian Drone Unit Aerorozvidka Eager To Strike At Night &Quot;When Russians Sleep&Quot;

Aerorozvidka’s fleet of drones

Aerorozvidka’s fleet of drones ranges from small affordable consumer drones to large octocopters that are built by their own engineers.

The R18 is their top drone model, with a flight time of 40 minutes and a range of about 2.5 miles. This large unmanned aircraft can carry payloads of up to 10 pounds, including the anti-tank bombs that obliterate the Russian armed vehicles.

The R18 is Ukraine’s most advanced drone that can also be used for scouting operations and direct artillery fire to Russian targets.

The unit also has a PD-1, a reconnaissance drone that can stay in the air for eight hours.

Aerorozvidka conducts around 300 drone missions each day to monitor Russian troop movements and to collect data for Ukraine’s Nato-supported intelligence system, Delta.

The system helps to identify the highest value Russian targets, the coordinates of which are handed over to the Ukrainian kills squads who fly their bomb-dropping drones at night.

Ukrainian Drone Unit Aerorozvidka Eager To Strike At Night &Quot;When Russians Sleep&Quot;

Aerorozvidka uses Elon Musk’s Starlink system

Aerorozvidka has had to seek alternative solutions as a result of power outages and internet connection problems in parts of Ukraine caused by Russian assaults.

The most advanced drones used by the unit use the Starlink communication system that uses satellites in a low orbit to enable “high data rate” activities.

“We use Starlink equipment and connect the drone team with our artillery team,” an Aerorozvidka officer said. “If we use a drone with thermal vision at night, the drone must connect through Starlink to the artillery guy and create target acquisition.”

Spare parts needed for damaged drones

Many of the drones come back to base with heavy damage from Russian bullets. On Facebook, Aerorozvidka repeatedly asks for spare parts, additional batteries for DJI drones, and thermal cameras.

In recent weeks we have seen Finnish and Dutch groups send DJI Mini drones to Ukraine. Others have sent 3D printers that can be used to create spare parts to build explosive devices. In the , citizens are in the process of creating a more steady stream of supplies and spare parts to Ukraine.

If you want to help by sending spare parts or money, click here to go to the Aerorozvidka Facebook page for instructions on how to do so.

Ukrainian Drone Unit Aerorozvidka Eager To Strike At Night &Quot;When Russians Sleep&Quot;
Ukrainian Drone Unit Aerorozvidka Eager To Strike At Night &Quot;When Russians Sleep&Quot;

Intelligence system, Delta and Aerorozvidka are a lethal team

Aerorozvidka has access to the Nato-supported Delta intelligence system that can monitor Russian troop movements and help identify and locate the highest value targets.

Delta collects and utilizes data from satellites, battlefield sensors, drone surveillance, radio interceptions, and interviews with residents of occupied territory.

Delta displays data on an interactive map that military leaders can use for “situational awareness” and planning, allowing them to track military movement in the war zone on-screen.

The specialist drone unit has been using the Delta system to plan drone missions to drop anti-tank grenades on Russian convoys.

“We have an in-house team of military software developers who follow a Nato standard to develop our situational awareness system,” an Aerorozvidka leader told the newspaper. “Based on the information we task our 50 teams in the field to either hit the targets identified or provide additional reconnaissance to some special parameters. Or to provide artillery with their eyes — they do the coordination of artillery fire.”

The Delta intelligence system and the specialist drone unit Aerorozvidka have been so effective that they’ve revolutionized how the Ukrainian military detects and responds to battlefield changes.

Ukrainian Drone Unit Aerorozvidka Eager To Strike At Night &Quot;When Russians Sleep&Quot;

Let us know what you think about the use of drones in Ukraine. Do you agree that flying drones is simply too dangerous or do you think that drones can make a difference in this war? Share our thoughts in the comments below.

Photos: courtesy of Aerorozvidka.

Ukrainian Drone Unit Aerorozvidka Eager To Strike At Night &Quot;When Russians Sleep&Quot;
Ukrainian Drone Unit Aerorozvidka Eager To Strike At Night &Quot;When Russians Sleep&Quot; 1

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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