In Ukraine, they’ve deployed $100,000 octocopter drones, and these aerial machines are doing some serious damage to Russian tanks and artillery, even when darkness falls. According to an operator, these octocopters have become quite the force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.
Recent reports reveal that these R18 octocopters have taken down a whopping 10 Russian tanks in the past few months, as shared by a drone pilot in an interview with CBS News.
In just one month, a Ukrainian military unit managed to obliterate a staggering $40 million worth of Russian military hardware.
While Ukraine has its share of low-cost drones, some of their homegrown octocopters come with a heftier price tag of $100,000.
However, these drones are proving their worth by neutralizing far more expensive Russian tanks and artillery pieces, even during the darkest hours of the night, as reported by an operator.
These Ukrainian-made R18 octocopters are equipped with thermal imaging cameras and can carry ordnance that can be dropped on enemy assets below, causing havoc on the battlefield amidst the ongoing conflict with Russia.
One drone operator, known as Sunset, revealed that his unit, Ukraine’s 24th Separate Mechanized Brigade, has already used R18 octocopters to eliminate 10 Russian tanks in the past few months.
For context, a single Soviet-era T-72 tank is valued at over a million dollars, while Russia’s more advanced tanks, like the T-80s and T-90s, are even pricier.
These octocopters have been in use by the 24th Separate Mechanized Brigade since May and are said to be most effective after nightfall.
Although specifics about Ukrainian drone losses weren’t mentioned, it was estimated in August that Ukraine was losing 40 to 45 drones daily, including some of its higher-end systems.
Different estimates have suggested even higher losses, with some researchers indicating up to 10,000 drones per month. The accuracy of these figures, and whether they include intentionally attritable systems like one-way attack drones, remains unclear.
The commander of the Ukrainian military unit, known as Hasan, also told CBS News that his soldiers had managed to destroy $40 million worth of Russian hardware in just one month, using drones.
He mentioned that his unit was set to expand from about 60 to 100 troops and would need to scale up its drone fleet to meet the demand.
In recent months, the Ukrainian military has been utilizing more cost-effective, low-budget drones equipped with explosive devices, such as anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades, against Russian forces.
These drones, priced at around $400 each, have become a prominent anti-tank weapon for Ukraine amidst Russia’s 20-month-long invasion.
Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, is dedicated to building a cutting-edge “army of drones.” This project has introduced thousands of unmanned platforms into combat.
Fedorov announced that nearly 2,000 high-tech drones, equipped with AI tools for automatic target detection and tracking, are being deployed to the front lines. This move aims to enhance the quality of data for UAV strike units and promises more effective results.