US security and defense company AeroVironment is upping its assistance to forces in Ukraine battling Russia’s invasion by donating more than 100 of its Quantrix Recon drones for intelligence gathering and monitoring movement of enemy troops.
Virginia-based AeroVironment revealed it had promised Ukraine Embassy officials in Washington to provide the renaissance drones for the nation’s struggle to resist Russia’s onslaught, and will ship the first half of the 100-plus UAVs before the end of the week. That came amid a wider push by Western allies to aid the besieged nation in its defense against the unprovoked invasion.
AeroVironment CEO Wahid Nawabi said the company would also provide training instruction to Ukraine forces operating the craft.
The move marks AeroVironment’s increasing support of Ukraine in its effort to resist Russia’s invasion, making it one of many large US businesses – including drone specialists – that have taken active and public steps to support Kiev.
Last week the US announced an additional $800 million in military aid package for Ukraine, part of which will cover the $19 million contract the Pentagon signed April 15 with AeroVironment to supply RQ-20 Puma intelligence drones.
AeroVironment has also provided Ukraine with its potent Switchblade drones – a loitering smart missile capable of making precision strikes against Russian personnel and heavy vehicles – as part of a US government assistance package announced in March.
The Quantrix Recon UAVs will offer a larger vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) alternative to the RQ-Pumas, which are battery-powered and hand-launched.
Quantrix is a lightweight automated reconnaissance craft equipped with high-resolution, geo-referenced terrain, vegetation, and infrastructure imaging tech. Its hybrid fuel system and VTOL design give it the advantages of multirotor drones, as well as increased range, speed, and efficiency of a fixed-wing unmanned aircraft. Quantrix can survey 0.6 square miles, or linear 12.4 miles, of area per each maximum 45-minute mission.
In making the announcement of AeroVironment’s donation of the drones, Nawabi made it clear he and the company are now unequivocal allies of Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression, and will continue aiding Kiev as it can.
“As the Ukraine military’s fight to protect their homeland and defend their nation’s freedom against Russia’s invasion.. their need for solutions that can offer force protection and force multiplication capabilities continues,” Nawabi said. “This donation will provide operators with a tool that can fly undetected by enemy forces and unaffected by radio frequency jammers to deliver accurate and rapid reconnaissance of remote, inaccessible areas of the dynamically changing battlefield.
“Using the actionable intelligence gathered by the Quantix Recon, operators can conduct quick mission planning and verification to help keep Ukrainian ground forces out of harm’s way. AeroVironment is honored to support the people of Ukraine,” he added.