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“Kamikaze” US ghost drones sent to the Ukrainian front “exactly what the Donbass region needs,” Pentagon says

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The US will supply Ukraine with deadly “ghost drones” specially designed for Ukrainian forces to use against Russian troops.

The 120 Phoenix Ghost Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems that Washington is sending to Kyiv are to be used in the battle for the contested Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “I have approved an additional drawing of $800 million [€740m] in arms, equipment and supplies for Ukraine to bolster its defenses against Russia’s new offensive in the east. We stand united with Ukraine.”

A US Department of Defense official described the Phoenix as a self-destructing, one-way “kamikaze” drone that “delivers a punch,” very similar to an AeroVironment switchblade.

The Switchblade is a tactical drone primarily used to locate and destroy troop defenses, but it can also harass tanks and armored vehicles as the ammunition can be fitted with a heavier anti-tank warhead that is fired quickly and in large numbers.

The drones are unique in their ability to hover over a potential target and strategically wait for the right moment to deliver a precise strike known as “loitering ammunition”.

The bespoke Phoenix drones, developed by the US Armed Forces and California-based Aevex Aerospace, can reportedly fly at speeds of up to 100 mph and carry a sizable payload.

But where the Switchblade can fly under an hour, the Phoenix Ghost can remain airborne for six hours and operate at night using infrared sensors.

“It was designed for a set of needs that correspond very closely to what Ukrainians need in Donbass right now,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

The new $800 million tranche of military aid is expected to include 72 155mm howitzers, 144,000 artillery shells, the Phoenix Ghost tactical drone, field equipment and spare parts.

President Joe Biden’s decision to quadruple the amount pledged in an arms package announced just last week reflects what is shaping up as a major ground fight in Donbass.

Mr Biden said the new package was tailored to help Ukraine’s forces deal with the growing Russian offensive in the east of the country, which he said would be a different type of battle than that north around Kyiv, where Ukrainian forces were fighting the successfully repelling the Russian invasion The first six weeks of the war.

France has also added to Ukraine’s arsenal with a range of Milan anti-tank missiles, as well as Caesar self-propelled howitzers, some of the most advanced on the market.

The howitzers can fire a turn’s worth of projectiles at a time, then travel to another location to avoid Russian counter-battery fire.

Thanks to European supplies, the Ukrainian military now has more tanks on the battlefield than Russia, the Pentagon announced this week.

The delivery of Soviet-era T-72 tanks from the Czech Republic and other NATO allies to Kyiv in recent weeks has effectively eroded Russia’s advantage.

Experts attribute the significant Russian casualties to the advanced anti-tank weapons given to Ukraine by Western nations, as well as poor maintenance and low morale among Moscow’s recruits.

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/kamikaze-us-ghost-drones-sent-to-ukraine-front-line-just-what-donbas-region-needs-says-pentagon-41579247.html “Kamikaze” US ghost drones sent to the Ukrainian front “exactly what the Donbass region needs,” Pentagon says

Fry Electronics Team

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