How Ukraine Perfected The Small Anti-Tank Drone
Ukraine’s Aerorozvidka (“Aerial Reconnaissance”) teams are not the first to use small multicopters to drop bombs, but they have transformed the drones from nuisance weapons into tank killers. They have achieved this with simple but effective upgrades which are likely to be copied widely.
The consumer drone revolution took off in 2013 with the launch of the Phantom quadcopter by Chinese company DJI. The great difference between this and previous radio-controlled aircraft was a sophisticated autopilot allowing operators to fly the drone out of the box, with no training or experience. Anyone could produce impressive aerial photography, helped by the autopilot’s rock-steady hover, at a fraction of the cost of a helicopter or crane rig. The biggest limitation was the flight time of ten minutes, which has increased to over 40 minutes in more recent DJI models.