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Ukrainian Unmanned Ground Vehicles Equipped with Explosive Charges Target Russian Soldiers' Trenches

On November 26, 2023, Russian social media unveiled a significant development on the Ukrainian front: photographs of an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) being used in the trenches. According to testimonies from Russian soldiers, the Ukrainian Armed Forces, in addition to utilizing kamikaze aerial drones, have begun deploying remote-controlled ground drones. These UGVs, described as maneuverable and silent, are equipped with heat sensors and detonate near targets, proving to be formidable in clearing defensive positions such as trenches.
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Ukrainian unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) being used in the trenches. (Picture source: Russian social media)

The Ukrainian drone manufacturing sector has experienced remarkable growth, expanding from just seven companies to at least 80 currently engaged in drone production. Minister Mykhailo Fedorov (Minister of Digital Transformation) reported a staggering increase in production, growing 100 times in 2023 compared to 2022, with further growth projected to be 120 to 140 times higher than the 2022 levels.

This expansion encompasses various types of unmanned vehicles, including Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) for maritime applications, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs). These drones serve diverse military functions, encompassing surveillance, intelligence gathering, and engagement with enemy forces.

Ukrainian drones are known for their cost-effectiveness, with some models priced as low as $500, yet demonstrating the capability to effectively target and neutralize high-value enemy tanks. This affordability has played a pivotal role in driving the growth of Ukraine's drone fleet, attracting numerous manufacturers to the industry.

Additionally, Ukraine manufactures more advanced UAVs primarily designed for reconnaissance purposes, with prices exceeding $1 million. These advanced drones offer extended flight times, high operational altitudes, and basic artificial intelligence capabilities, enhancing their capacity to accurately identify targets and evade electronic warfare measures employed by adversaries.

These unmanned systems have proven strategically vital in Ukraine's military operations. Notably, they have played a pivotal role in mapping out Russian air defense systems and effectively targeting enemy forces and infrastructure on air, ground and sea. Despite their relatively low cost, these drones have demonstrated the potential to influence the outcome of significant military operations.

Although the specific small UGV has not been identified, the Ukrainian industry continues to innovate in the field of military drones. In September 2023, we witnessed the presentation and field testing of the Ironclad unmanned ground vehicle (UGV). This versatile UGV has performed a range of combat missions, including storming enemy positions, reconnaissance operations, and delivering military fire support. For more information about this UGV, please refer to the article written by the Army Recognition editorial team dated September 25, 2023.


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