Serhiy Zhukovin, a Ukrainian drone operator from the SIGNUM unit within the 93rd Mechanized Brigade, known as Schweiger, discussed the unit’s early experiences using drones when fighting Russian forces in an interview with NV Radio on Jan. 18.
The unit’s FPV (first-person view) drone hit was the first to be documented, although claims of earlier attempts existed, Zhukovin said. The concept of employing FPV drones on the battlefield arose in the spring of 2022.
“We believed that we needed to approach this entire war with cunning tactics,” Zhukovin said.
“So, we came up with an idea. Despite being told that it wouldn’t work, especially by those involved in FPV at the time, including top athletes in the FPV media space, it evolved into an incredibly vast movement with thriving communities. The number of people engaged in this initiative is simply astounding, and the results have been nothing short of amazing.”
The first drone, obtained through volunteers on the OLX online marketplace platform around April or May 2022, was a modified sports freestyle drone with enhanced features.
“It cost seven thousand at the time ($186 current rate),” he said.
“We purchased the necessary equipment, goggles, and made various modifications, including installing a more powerful video transmitter. Although the initial setup with 800 milliwatts was still functional, our first drone saw a setback as the battery failed — didn’t even fly 50 or 100 meters to reach the enemy positions.”
The next uses of FPV drones proved more effective, with many people adopting the idea, Zhukovin said.
Ukroboronprom CEO Herman Smetanin said in November 2023 that they are helping private companies scale up the production of FPV drones.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Dec. 19, 2023 that the country would produce one million drones for the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 2024.
Factories in Ukraine are ready to produce ammunition for one million drones that are planned to be transferred to Ukrainian military personnel in 2024, said Strategic Industries Minister, Oleksandr Kamyshin, on Dec. 22, 2013.
Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine