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Britain to send 1,000 first-person view drones to Ukraine

In Europe
June 04, 2024

Britain is pushing to deliver 1,000 first-person view drones to Ukraine as part of an international coalition in support of Kyiv.

According to a tender notice posted on the Government’s website, industry providers have been invited to submit bids to provide drones and equipment that can be fitted with armour-destroying munitions.

The appeal, worth £300,000, calls for the procurement of up to 15 batches of 20 “first-person view racing quadcopter style drones”.

Ukraine has turned to drones to overcome Russia’s advantage in troops and firepower.

Troops would often modify commercially available products, such as the Chinese-made DJI Mavic, to deliver RPG anti-tank rockets and smaller handheld grenades to targets.

The creations, often cobbled together for less than £1,000, have been credited with destroying items of Russian kit, such as tanks and helicopters, worth millions.

The drones must be “capable of carrying varying payloads depending on their propeller size”, the notice added.

After initial testing, which is expected to be concluded by mid-August, successful applicants could be offered future order contracts to supply “up to circa 1,000 drones per month”.

Britain and Latvia launched the Drone Capability Coalition for Ukraine in February in the hope of surging supplies of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the front lines.

“Together with the UK and as part of the Drone Coalition we have launched an industry competition to provide FPV drones for Ukraine,” Andris Spruds, Latvia’s defence minister, wrote on X.

The scheme promised to provide Ukrainian forces with more drones to target “enemy positions, armoured vehicles, and ships with explosive ordinances” by leveraging Western firms for their production.

Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, last year launched a specific drone force in recognition of the success of UAVs on the battlefield.

In December, he said Ukraine would boost current production levels to manufacture one million drones this year.

Most frontline units are joined by specially-trained drone operators who use FPV UAVs, flown with virtual reality headsets that allow the pilots to see where they’re going.

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