Estonian volunteers supply Ukrainians with racing drones

Racing drone.
Racing drone. Source: ERR

First person view (FPV) drones, also known as racing drones, are brought to Ukraine by Estonian volunteers. The Ukrainians began employing FPVs as explosive ordnance delivery vehicles a few months ago. FPVs are swift, maneuverable drones with a substantial load capacity. NGO "Vaba Ukraina" ("Free Ukraine") has sent the first of these to its partners.

FPV drones, also known as racing drones, are agile and aerobatic. They are solely controlled by the image captured by an onboard camera. Traditional drones are operated from the pilot's perspective on the ground, in contrast to this. The "AK" reports that these drones are now being used as kamikaze drones in Ukraine because they are harder to detect and destroy.

A charged FPV drone cannot fly very far, only a few kilometers, and usually another observation drone follows it and monitors the outcome.

"It is comparable to hobby equipment in that you can include as many engines and propellers as you like. In general, they are used to transport loads ranging from 600 grams to 1.5 kilos. And if you have a good enough load and a strong enough pilot, you can even use it to destroy a tank," Silver Lensment, a drone specialist, said.

NGO "Vaba Ukraina" is providing racing drones to its Ukrainian partners for the first time. Dozens of thermal observation drones have been delivered in the past.

"About three to four months ago, when testing of such machines began for the first time in Ukraine and proved to be quite successful in certain situations, the units with which we have direct links also started to test them. And since they already have a network of drones, we decided to provide FPV drones, having tested also that they could carry the necessary amount of explosives," Ronald Riistan, founding member of the NGO said.

Riistan said the NGO has been operational since 2014 and makes use of personal contacts in Ukraine.

"We have set up a system from the start in which, at each stop — borders, loading sites, etc., up to the point of pickup — they send us images of the equipment, so as to exclude anything going astray," Riistan said.


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Kristina Kersa

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