Ukraine’s armed forces and in particular the Aerorozvidka (“Aerial Reconnaissance”) volunteers have shown how effectively consumer drones can be used to find targets, direct artillery fire, assess battle damage – and drop grenades on the Russians. While large R18 octocopters carry anti-tank bombs, even small quadcopters can deliver grenades with high accuracy. Now a video from the 93rd Brigade shows a drone carrying out an impressive precision strike through an open doorway, the first known attack of this type with a consumer drone.
The 93rd Brigade of Ukraine showed the use of a very interesting cheap commercial drone converted to kamikaze role. Such drones carry a very small payload and are used mostly against personnel. Note that the operator is receiving video output via special FPV goggles.
Drone bombers can hit with impressive precision, dropping grenades into trenches and foxholes and even through open vehicle hatches. Only overhead cover provides safety. So Russian troops sheltering inside a building were safe…until the Ukrainians figures out a new tactic. Drones fitted with explosives for kamikaze attacks are often termed loitering munitions, such as the Switchblade 300 and Phoenix Ghost weapons supplied by the U.S. But even without imported weapons, Ukrainians are assembling loitering munitions from what is available.
FPV – ‘first person view’ — drones offer a more immersive flying experience than standard drones. Other drones are flown largely by autopilot; the operator tells the drone where to go and it flies itself. In the FPV experience, the operator is in direct control of the drone. This requires far more skill, but FPV pilots can fly much faster through cluttered terrain than autopilots, and FPV drone racing is a popular competitive sport.
Two drone operators are involved in the attack. One, flying a conventional quadcopter, surveys the scene and identifies a building being used by Russian troops. The other is operating an FPV drone and wears special FPV goggles which give a clearer view from the drone’s camera and are preferred by FPV racers. From the logo on the headband, at least some of his kit comes from consumer supplier NewBee Drone.
The drone itself cannot easily be identified, but from its configuration and rapid takeoff it looks like an FPV racing drone – possibly a DJI FPV drone, an 800-gram vehicle capable of an impressive 86 mph (almost twice as fast as a DJI Mavic Pro 2) .