A group of Finnish volunteers has hand-delivered 140 DJI Mavic Mini drones to the Ukrainian military to assist with reconnaissance efforts against the invading Russian forces.
Henri Lindroos and his friends launched a fundraising campaign for this initiative, collecting more than $57,000 (€52,000) to purchase and deliver a consignment of ultra-portable, sub-250-gram drones to the Ukrainian army.
The volunteers even charged the batteries of the drones before making the delivery, so the aircraft could be deployed instantly. And to ensure uninterrupted surveillance operations, they packed in extra batteries and chargers.
A trio of volunteers then traveled to conflict-ridden Ukraine via Poland.
As Lindroos explains in an Instagram post:
140 drones landed with us to Poland, now on their way to Ukraine military to help with reconnaissance upon their urgent request. 52,000 euros worth of equipment ready to be sent to the frontlines of an independent nation that is fighting for its existence.
We received the phone call at midnight to pick up, charge, and pack the drones, and we worked through the night to get it done.
The shipment was delivered to the Ukrainian military on Wednesday, but it looks like it’s going to be one of the many more to come.
Lindroos says he has already received requests for more drones and is planning to arrange for another shipment next week. He also explains that drone retailer Verkkokauppa provided the aircraft at its cost price, which left the volunteers with enough spare cash to throw in extra batteries and chargers in the shipment.
Also read: FCC filings for two new DJI drones published
It’s worth highlighting that the small but mighty DJI Mavic Mini (now available as Mini SE in North America) is considered the perfect aircraft for someone who doesn’t have much experience flying drones. It comes with up to 30 minutes of flying time and can capture 2.7K videos and 12MP stills.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry recognized the power of small drones early in the conflict. In a Facebook message posted on February 25, the ministry appealed to the owners of small drones to use them for unspecified missions in Kyiv. Alternatively, drone operators could donate the aircraft to Ukraine forces who would then use the flying machines to monitor the advances of Russian troops.