UAVs saving Ukrainian soldiers
In the Ukrainian army’s actions in the east on the country, a very important role is played by the UAVs – unmanned aerial vehicles used for reconnaissance missions. However, the battalions are lacking professional pilots, and the army tends to lose its equipment not to enemy fire, but rather to the inadequate skills of the drone operators. The Ukrainian army does not have a proper system of training in place, and its implementation would simply take too much time. The UAVs – and their pilots – are needed now, so that situations such as that which happened in Ilovaysk would take place no more. On Wednesday, the Donbass battalion finally took a town, previously occupied by the separatists. However, the lack of full recon intel resulted in the soldiers being surrounded and cut off from the main anti-terrorist operation forces in one of the local schools. If the battalion had unmanned aerial equipment, it would have been able to gain more detailed info relating to the enemy’s location and hence plan the operation differently.
As it is typical of this war, the authorities have been replaced by volunteers, donors, sponsors and the soldiers themselves. The “Association for Ukraine Defence Support” made available their premises, where the first UAV operator course is being held right now – one organised by experts, in their daily life in no way whatsoever involved with the operation of military equipment. Gennadiy Mazepa (passionate of virtually everything that flies) simply came to employ his skills could be put to good use – a reconnaissance with an UAV could save commanders from errors of judgement… and soldiers from getting killed. Together with his colleagues, they decided to act – and through his personal connections he managed to spread the word about the course among the detachments fighting in the ATO zone.
The nine course participants – among them one woman – represent both the UA structures and the volunteer battalions. The training lasts a week, and during its course, an active search for donors is underway, so that the soldiers do not return to their units empty-handed (UAVs are quite expensive, hence not all units are equipped with them). The organisers are planning to continue the training for as long as they are required – as of now, the next group has more or less been formed.