By John Ensor •
Published: 31 Aug 2023 • 10:08
Australian cardboard drone.
The recent devastation wreaked on Russian military aircraft is believed to be the result of drones, made from cardboard.
Ukraine has reportedly used flat-packed drones made from cardboard to destroy $100m worth of Russian fighter jets. The attack took place last weekend on an airfield in Kursk, western Russia, according to Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), writes The Sydney Morning Herald.
Five military aircraft—a Mig-29 and four Su-30 fighter jets—were destroyed. Each jet costs about $20 million. Two Pantsir missile launchers and an S-300 air defence system’s radar are also believed to have been damaged.
The drones are said to cost just $3,500 (£2,750) and are manufactured by Australian firm SYPAQ. The Australian government has promised to supply Ukraine with 100 of these drones per month, in a deal worth $20 million (£15.7 million). The drones are intended to provide ‘a battlefield intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability’.
According to SYPAQ’s website: ‘SYPAQ Systems is proud to be delivering sovereign Australian autonomous systems to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces thanks to investment from the Department of Defence.
The website went on to mention the advantages of the innovative drone: ‘Developed in Melbourne in partnership with Army and under a $1.1 million Defence Innovation Hub contract, the Corvo PPDS is a low cost, expendable drone for the delivery of supplies and equipment into areas traditional logistics capabilities cannot reach.
‘Also known as the “cardboard plane,” the PPDS comes flat-packed and can launch, fly up to 120km and land by itself, providing true autonomy and removing the cognitive load on the soldier during operation.’
The Australian Army’s retired Major General Mick Ryan said the drones could easily be adapted to carry munitions. Their lightweight nature makes them well-suited to breach Russia’s air defence systems. A SYPAQ spokesman declined to comment on the drones’ usage by the Ukrainian armed forces.
On the attack, an unnamed SBU officer told the Kyiv Post that 16 drones had been launched at the target. Only three were shot down by Russian defences. Russia’s defence ministry has acknowledged the attack. A former Russian fighter pilot, known as Fighterbomber, confirmed that the drones used included the lightweight SYPAQ craft.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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