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Discover new STE Punisher drone deployed by Ukrainian army

The Ukrainian company STE (Spets Techno Export) recently unveiled a new drone, an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) that goes by the name "Punisher." The Punisher drone stands out as a high-precision alternative to long-range artillery or missile systems, designed to effectively neutralize enemy targets at distances of up to 45 kilometers. What sets this UAS apart is its exceptional ability to deliver precise strikes on the first shot, complete with a reliable prediction of the impact location. This feature plays a crucial role in minimizing the potential risks of collateral damages in the vicinity.
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The Punisher UAS is one of the newest Ukrainian drones (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Delving into the specifics of the Punisher UAS, it boasts an impressive array of capabilities. With an operating range of 45 kilometers, a maximum speed of 180 kilometers per hour, and a relatively swift preparation time of just 15 minutes, it can be swiftly deployed for action. Moreover, its reload time of only 3 minutes ensures that it can quickly return to the battlefield when necessary. The drone can ascend to altitudes of up to 400 meters and exhibits remarkable wind resistance, capable of withstanding winds of up to 25 meters per second.

In terms of armament, the Punisher UAS is equipped with the UB-75HE, an unguided high-explosive bomb. This bomb features a caliber of 75 millimeters, a weight of 2.5 kilograms, a length of 550 millimeters, a diameter of 75 millimeters, and is fitted with an impact fuse. Additionally, the Punisher offers optional weapons configurations, including high-explosive unguided bombs, high-explosive anti-tank unguided bombs, and an in-development high-explosive incendiary unguided bomb. This drone is already deployed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in its war against Russian troops.

Since the commencement of the war, Ukraine has witnessed a remarkable expansion within its drone manufacturing sector. A mere year ago, the nation boasted only seven drone manufacturers. Presently, there are a minimum of 80 companies engaged in drone production. According to Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine's Minister of Digital Transformation, production has surged by a factor of 100 in the current year (2023) compared to the previous year (2022), with projected increases estimated to be in the range of 120 to 140 times higher than 2022 production levels.

These statistics encompass various types of unmanned vehicles, including Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) for maritime applications, Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles (UAVs), and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs).

The Ukrainian Armed Forces have deployed these drones across a broad spectrum of military applications, encompassing surveillance, intelligence gathering, and engagement with enemy forces through attack drones. For example, the attack drones have the capability to drop bombs, such as the Punisher, or detonate on impact, targeting enemy soldiers, tanks, artillery, and supply lines.

Despite their relatively low cost, some Ukrainian drones are renowned for their cost-effectiveness. A drone with a mere $1,000 price tag can effectively target and disable a tank valued at $500,000. This affordability has played a pivotal role in the expansion of the Ukrainian drone fleet, accounting for the substantial increase in the number of manufacturers.

Additionally, Ukraine produces more advanced UAVs, primarily for reconnaissance purposes. These drones, which can exceed a price tag of $1 million, offer extended flight times of up to 30 hours, the ability to operate at altitudes exceeding 16,000 ft, and incorporate basic artificial intelligence capabilities. These enhancements enhance the drones' capacity to accurately prioritize and identify targets, as well as evade disruptive electronic warfare measures employed by adversaries.

This burgeoning fleet of unmanned aerial systems facilitates tactical operations, as exemplified in Crimea. For instance, by utilizing cost-effective drones, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have successfully mapped out Russian air defense systems. While some of these systems have been destroyed, other drones have identified clear pathways, which are subsequently utilized in more significant operations, such as the recent targeting of a Russian submarine in Sevastopol or the destruction of four Ilyushin Il-76MD transport aircraft on the Pskov military airfield, deep within Russian territory. These operations typically involve the use of more costly and sophisticated missiles, such as modified Neptune anti-ship missiles or foreign-supplied SCALP/Storm Shadow missiles.


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