Ukraine is delivering a heavy and stealthy blow to Russian invaders with a fleet of drones that are taking out supply lines up to 50km behind enemy lines.
The drones, aptly named 'The Punisher', are being used to target fuel storage, ammunition supplies and electronic warfare stations - and all without any risk to civillians.
Eugene Bulatsev, an engineer with the Ukrainian designer UA-Dynamics, told The Times that the electric drones were 'game-changing' - and had already completed up to 60 'successful' missions since the beginning of the Russian invasion.
“This is the cheapest and easiest way to deliver a punch from a long distance, without risking civilian lives," he said.
🇺🇦🇷🇺"Es relativamente pequeño y lo suficientemente ligero como para ser indetectable por radar y no se puede ver ni escuchar una vez que está en el aire, lo que lo convierte en una pesadilla en el campo de batalla" hablando del "punisher" según los ingenieros ucranianos pic.twitter.com/y4ehktcEg5— Drones de guerra (@dronesdeguerra) March 6, 2022
The small, silent, unmanned planes have a tiny 2.2-metre wingspan and can carry up to three explosives to wipe out troops and vehicles.
Manned by a laptop on the ground, they can reach up to 396 meters in the air and are accompanied by a smaller drone - called a Spectre - that flies with The Punisher to identify targets.
Bulatsev told The Sun that the Punisher's secret weapon is its 'stealth capability'.
“It’s relatively small and light enough to be undetectable to radar and you can’t see or hear it once it’s airborne which makes it a nightmare on the battlefield.
“What’s more, it can drop three bombs at a time or hit three seperate targets, then return to base to be reloaded and sent back into battle within minutes.
Os dois lados da #UkraineRussianWar começaram a empregar em maior número nos últimos dias diferentes tipos de drone tanto para reconhecimento e vigilância como para ataque (UCAV). À esq do mosaico aparecem o Bayraktar TB2 e o Punisher da 🇺🇦 e à dir os 🇷🇺 Orlan-10 e Orion pic.twitter.com/bxLqbL8ayb— Glício Fonseca 🚁✈️🌎 (@gliciofonseca) March 6, 2022
“We Ukrainians recognised that we needed a weapon like this having faced so much firepower for so long and have developed and improved it ourselves for six years."
A group of veterans decided to launch UA-Dynamics following agitation by pro-Russian groups in the Donbas region in 2014.
"Three-quarters of the company's employees are veterans with experience in special operations deep in enemy territory," Maxim Subbotin, a marketing expert and an unofficial spokesman for UA-Dynamics, told Haaretz.
Нөгөө Америкийн алдар stinger,javelin хоёр дээр энэ punisher drone (хашраагч) Оросын агуу армийг ч уйлуулж бна даа. pic.twitter.com/BboSHOLsyV— Hurley (@XY2DZ3D) March 6, 2022
As well as The Punisher and its successful campaigns against Russian forces - the details of which, remain classified for obvious reasons - Ukrainian forces also have access to about 20 Turkish drones, the Bayraktar TB2, Business Insider reported.
Ukraine would have also benefitted from the deployment of its all-terrain drone, Peacekeeper, that passed factory tests just a few months ago.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.
Featured Image Credit: UA Dynamics/ITAR-TASS News Agency/Alamy Stock Photo