Ukraine, in its ongoing conflict with Russia, has deployed octocopter drones costing $100,000 each. These drones have proven their effectiveness by taking out Russian tanks and artillery worth millions, even during the darkest hours of the night. The information comes from a drone operator on the field.
Over the past few months, the R18 octocopters have managed to destroy ten Russian tanks, according to a pilot interviewed by CBS News. In just a month, a Ukrainian military unit reportedly dealt a blow to Russian forces by neutralizing hardware valued at $40 million.
While Ukraine possesses various inexpensive drones for frontline operations, some are of higher value. The homemade octocopter, despite its $100,000 price tag, has demonstrated its worth by effectively eliminating costly Russian tanks and artillery, as stated by an operator.
These Ukrainian-made R18 octocopters are equipped with thermal imaging cameras and can carry ordnance for precision strikes against enemy assets. They have wreaked havoc on the battlefield in the ongoing conflict with Russia.
Sunset, a drone operator from Ukraine’s 24th Separate Mechanized Brigade, revealed that his unit has successfully eliminated ten Russian tanks in recent months using the R18 octocopters. The estimated value of a single Soviet-era T-72 tank surpasses a million dollars, while more advanced Russian tanks, like the T-80s and T-90s, are worth even more.
The 24th Separate Mechanized Brigade has been utilizing these octocopter drones since May, and they are said to be most effective during nighttime operations.
Although Sunset didn’t mention Ukrainian drone losses, it has been estimated that Ukraine was losing between 40 to 45 drones a day in August, including some high-end systems. Some estimates have even been higher, with researchers suggesting losses of up to 10,000 drones a month. It’s unclear whether these figures include attritable systems designed for one-way attack missions.
The commander of the Ukrainian military unit, known as Hasan, reported that his soldiers had destroyed $40 million worth of Russian hardware in just one month using drones. He mentioned plans to increase the unit’s size from approximately 60 to 100 troops and expand their drone fleet.
In addition to the octocopters, the Ukrainian military has been using less expensive, budget-friendly drones fitted with explosive devices, including anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades, to target Russian forces. These drones, priced at around $400, have become a prominent anti-tank weapon for Ukraine during Russia’s 20-month-long invasion.
Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, has expressed the nation’s commitment to building a state-of-the-art “army of drones.” This project has led to the deployment of thousands of unmanned platforms into combat. Fedorov recently tweeted that nearly 2,000 high-tech drones equipped with AI tools for automatic target detection and tracking are being sent to the front lines, emphasizing the importance of quality data for successful UAV strike units.