The PlayStation ability provides an advantage for fighters in the Drone Training School


In a muddy field on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital, soldiers bend over hand controls and hushed their voices about which way to steer the drone.

“It takes some skill to pilot the drone,” said Oleksandr, the head of the dronarium training center — and it doesn’t come from traditional military training.

“It’s easier for someone who plays PlayStations,” said Oleksandr, who can’t reveal his full name for security reasons.

Between 30 and 35 soldiers are enrolled in each five-day course, dispatched from their military units.

Fifteen types of drones are available, and soldiers fly the lightweight devices – which weigh no more than 250 grams – between four and seven kilometers while re-enacting combat scenarios.

Once deployed into the field, soldiers are split into pairs and given “intelligence” about military objects located in a “nearby location.”

Using a map, they try to fly the drone to the designated spot, take as many photos as possible, and bring it back unnoticed.

Once they send the photos to their commander, their mission is complete.

The training center was founded in April by Oleksandr (45) in Lviv. A second branch was later opened in Kyiv.

Before the war, Oleksandr had an international company that sold pet supplies online.

He learned to fly a drone eight years ago, but he never imagined that one day he would help his country fight a Russian invasion.

Still, the importance of unmanned aerial vehicles on the front lines has dominated this war, with Russia and Ukraine using professional military drones as their “eyes” in the sky. No wonder the armed forces are recruiting the likes of Oleksandr.

Russia operates a large fleet of Orlan-10 winged observation devices, while Ukraine tends to use its own fixed-wing observation drones.

Kyiv has also deployed kamikaze drones like the US-made Switchblade and the Poland-supplied Warmate. Ukraine also uses Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 armed drones, which played a role in destroying Russian tank columns early in the war.

But Oleksandr said many of the soldiers who come have their own commercial drones that they fly on the front lines.

“During the war, we realized that drones were essential,” he said. “But many soldiers crashed them. They had their own drones but didn’t know how to use them.”

The center has trained more than 700 soldiers to become drone pilots and hopes to continue training “until the end of the war.”

Max Gherasimov (45), one of the senior instructors, admits that the soldiers have to absorb a lot of information in a very short time. “We deliberately don’t give the soldiers too much information on this task in order to replicate the conditions on the front lines,” he said.

“My students are so engaged. They come here to train, then they go back to the front and they feel better.”

He added that he was sometimes concerned that his men were “too serious”. His view that the soldiers were determined was no understatement – they weren’t laughing at all, their faces adorned with concentration as they listened to their instructors’ every word. “This is a question about your life, so of course you’re serious,” Mr Gherasimov added. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd. 2022)

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022] The PlayStation ability provides an advantage for fighters in the Drone Training School

Fry Electronics Team

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