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The USA has sent a number of new and technologically advanced drones over to Ukraine in order to aid them in their fight against the Russian invasion.
There are 121 Phoenix Ghost Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems being sent out as part of the package, White House press secretary John Kirby announced yesterday.
The sophisticated weaponry is made by AEVEX Aerospace out of California, and some details of how it works are not yet available.
However, we do know that it’s a ‘single use’ drone and has been designed bespoke for this conflict, as Kirby explained: “This was rapidly developed by the Air Force in response specifically to Ukrainian requirements.”
The Phoenix Ghost is similar to the existing Switchblade unmanned drones that are already in Ukraine.
That means that these are small and unmanned systems that fly a short distance before using a relatively small warhead to take out targets.
They’re also hard to detect, making them effective in this type of conflict.
Kirby said: “It provides similar capabilities to the Switchblade series of unmanned systems — similar capabilities, but not exact,
“There’s differences in the scope of capability for the Phoenix Ghost.”
Kirby stopped short of describing exactly how the Phoenix Ghost works – for obvious reasons – and wouldn’t be drawn on whether they have been used on the battlefield already.
That said, The Hill quotes a senior US Defense official as having said the new system ‘is designed to deliver a punch’ and can be ‘useful against a number of different targets’.
Kirby did state that the new system ‘will require some minimal training’ for the Ukrainian forces that are to use them, adding that US forces are ‘working through those training requirements directly with the Ukrainian armed forces’.
They’ve also helped out with training the Ukrainians to use the Switchblade systems, of which hundreds have been in use in the conflict already since the Russian invasion on February 24.
Speaking about the new lethal aid package, Biden said: "We’re in a critical window now of time where they’re going to set the stage for the next phase of this war,”
He added that the US and allies are ‘moving as fast as possible’ to get the weapons needed into Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy later tweeted his thanks to Biden for the new package.
He wrote: “I'm grateful to @POTUS and the American people for the leadership in supporting the people of Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression.
"This help is needed today more than ever! It saves the lives of our defenders of democracy and freedom and brings us closer to restoring peace in Ukraine.”
f you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information
Featured Image Credit: US Marine Corps/Alamy
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