This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
Ukraine has announced through its Defense Telegram account that it developed a bomber drone called the “SkyKnight”, which seems to be small but quite powerful.
The Telegram post, though scarce with information, shows that the new UAV is compact and has four limbs with two rotors each, as well as what appears to be a sensor package to the front and a downward-facing camera. The SkyKnight also has a battery pack strapped to the back and carries its payload munition on its underside. The drone’s payload seems to weigh around 2.5 kg, large for its small size- the bomb is around three to five times the weight of a typical hand grenade, not a trivial load for a small drone.
The “SkyKnight” is domestically produced, built for the Ukrainian military, shares parts with hobbyist drones, and is designed for ease of assembly rather than aesthetics. According to Interesting Engineering, it is crucial to manufacture drones domestically because DJI banned the sale of its drones to Ukraine and Russia.
Samuel Bendett, an analyst at the Center for Naval Analysis and adjunct senior fellow at the Center for New American Security said that the drone “can be used against stationary and moving targets – anything from tanks, armored vehicles, artillery and other systems to infantry units on the move and in trenches, and against any target that is identified as a Russian military one.”
The drone can also fly automatically towards a target the operator chooses, even if communication is lost. “Ukraine is investing a lot of resources in domestic combat drone production to meet the challenge from the Russian military that is increasingly fielding more quadcopter and FPV-type drones,” says Bendett, and adds that the SkyKnight “needs to be manufactured in sufficient quantities to start making a difference on the battlefield.”