A new quadcopter, dubbed Bereginya and designed specifically for military use, may give Ukraine a new tool adapted to the lessons of its recent conflict.
Kiev has announced that is preparing for the second generation of small drone warfare. Ukraine, which remains locked into a stalemate with pro Russian separatists in its eastern regions, was one of the first proving grounds of commercial drones pressed into military use.
The drone, manufactured by Meridian Corporation, which is part of Ukraine’ UkrOboronProm defense conglomerate, resembles a regular commercial quadcopter, except it has a distinctive black humped back.
“Meridian claims that it took only six months to develop and test this UAV, once the company was contacted by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense,” said Samuel Bendett, a fellow in Russia studies at the American Foreign Policy Council.
“This is significant, given that delays usually accompany defense procurement. The loses to pro-Russian forces back in 2014 and 2015 were due in part to the inability of the Ukrainian military to get an accurate situational awareness.”
The Bereginya reportedly weights 2.2 pounds, has a range of 7.5 miles, and includes parts made with 3D printers, which suggests easy repair near the field. It’s designed to get to an altitude of 330 feet in just 3 seconds, and to operate in high winds.
“This is a tactical, close support vehicle that is supposed to aid troops with situational awareness, surveillance and reconnaissance,” said Bendett, an adviser at the Center for Naval Analyses. “It’s other defining feature is that Meridian claims its has ‘secure communications,’ which presumably would allow its operator to work securely, without being identified by adversary’s electronic warfare systems.”