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Photos offer an up-close look at how Ukrainian soldiers rig their drones with deadly explosives

Ukrainian FPV drone unit from the 53rd Mechanized Brigade, launching RPG warhead armed FPV munitions towards Russian positions in Donetsk Oblast.
Ukrainian FPV drone unit from the 53rd Mechanized Brigade, launching RPG warhead armed FPV munitions towards Russian positions in Donetsk Oblast.General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
  • Newly surfaced photos offer an up-close look at how Ukraine attaches explosives to its drones.

  • Drones often either fly directly into a target, exploding on impact, or drop a payload.

  • Both sides have heavily relied on drones throughout the war, targeting high-value assets and operators.

Photos that showed up online this week offer an up-close look at Ukrainian troops attaching deadly explosives to their drones before flying them off to Russian targets.

The photos, which also show the operators in action, highlight the continued and growing prevalence of drones on both sides of the battlefield.

This past weekend, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine shared photos on Telegram of what was identified as a Ukrainian first-person view (FPV) drone unit from the 53rd Mechanized Brigade outside Russian-occupied Donetsk Oblast. In the photos, the FPV drone has been equipped with a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) warhead and is flying toward its presumed target.

The photos were shared by open-source information accounts on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Other photos show an FPV operator from the unit wearing goggles and preparing to control the drone, as well as a soldier attaching an explosive to another drone. The drones, which are basically cheap hobby-style racing drones, are often equipped with things like RPG warheads or plastic explosives, and the payload is sometimes hastily attached with a simple adhesive.

The photos offer an interesting look at the process troops go through, from preparing the drone for flight to rigging it with its explosive payload. They also speak to the larger, constant presence of drones on the battlefield. These systems provide enhanced situational awareness through persistent surveillance, as well as tools for offensive strikes.

Both sides heavily employ unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), flying cheap systems into asymmetrically high-value targets like tanks and fighting vehicles or using higher-end systems to drop bombs on unsuspecting targets. Both Ukraine and Russia have created large drone forces, and over the course of the war, operators have developed impressive skills, particularly the Ukrainians, who have used drones to chase down tanks, trucks, and even a lone soldier on a motorcycle.

In some cases, Ukrainian operators have precisely flown UAVs into open tank hatches before detonating them inside the vehicle.

And just as both sides of the war have relied on drones, they've also attempted to adapt to the growing threats posed by them. Troops have built crude cages on top of tanks and employed jamming on the front lines in an effort to spare vehicles a fiery fate that many others have met in battle.

Read the original article on Business Insider