Ukrainian Troops Use Drones to Rescue Drones and More

Ukrainian soldiers are using drones in innovative ways to recover lost equipment and gather intelligence. These drone rescues are not just about saving hobbyist gadgets but are a crucial part of modern warfare.

Daring Drone Rescues

Most drone users have experienced the frustration of losing a drone to a tree or rooftop. Rescuing these gadgets often involves creative solutions, such as using another drone equipped with hooks or magnets. YouTube is full of videos showing these daring rescues. One popular method involves using a fishing line and hook to recover a stuck drone. Some enthusiasts even use specially designed tools like the Tarot Mantis Claw Grabber Drone Recovery Hook, which uses gravity to grab onto lost drones.

However, these solutions often lack a release mechanism, risking the loss of the recovery drone if the stuck drone is too heavy to lift.

Unharmed But Unreachable

In , the situation is more complicated. Many drones are lost due to electronic jamming rather than accidents. When drones lose connection, they attempt to land safely, often in inaccessible places like minefields or areas under enemy fire.

Ukrainian Troops Use Drones To Rescue Drones And More 2

A 2023 report by RUSI suggested Ukraine was losing up to 10,000 drones a month, mainly due to jamming. This figure is debated but highlights the scale of the problem, reports Forbes.

Ukrainian drone operators have found ways to recover these drones. In December 2022, a video titled “Saving Private Mavic” showed a successful drone recovery mission. Since then, systematic efforts have been made to develop recovery techniques.

“Every Drone Counts”

According to Euromaidan Press, the 128th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade has been actively recovering fallen drones.

“Retrieving drones on foot was not an option because it contradicts their purpose—preserving lives. So, we decided to find a way to evacuate our drones,” the unit commander said.

They developed a triple hook device using grenade rings, successfully recovering drones even from minefields. Despite the challenges of flying with the added weight, they managed to rescue 16 drones, with 10 still flyable and the others sent for repair.

Grabbing Trophies

Russian drones are also targets for recovery. Ukrainian operators have picked up fallen Russian quadcopters and even conducted more ambitious operations. Last year, a Baba Yaga heavy bomber retrieved a downed Russian Orlan-10 reconnaissance drone, worth over $100,000.

Another operation used a to pick up an encrypted Russian radio, allowing Ukrainian forces to listen in on enemy communications. The Peaky Blinders drone unit has even used drones to retrieve weapons from the battlefield.

This evolving drone warfare includes using drones to drop items like spiked caltrops and pick them up as well. With AI-guided drones now capable of tasks like picking apples, expect more creative drone applications in the future.

DroneXL's Take

Drones have become essential tools in modern warfare, going beyond surveillance to actively participating in equipment recovery and intelligence gathering. As continues to advance, their role on the battlefield will only expand, showcasing their versatility and importance.

Photo courtesy of Ukraine MoD.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, 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 @ or @hayekesteloo.

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