UK sending Ukraine heavy-lift cargo drones in struggle against Russian invasion

Ukraine cargo drone

In addition to the large influx of both military-grade and consumer UAVs from abroad to Ukraine forces battling Russian troops, Kiev will soon take delivery of specialized UK heavy-lift cargo drones that have been tested by the British Navy in various scenarios.

Those heavy-lift cargo drones are part of a range of supplies to Ukraine forces and emergency workers worth over $370 million that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged earlier this month. Promised tech within that includes “electronic warfare equipment, a counter battery radar system, GPS jamming equipment, heavy-lift supply drones, and thousands of night vision devices,” Johnson said.

According to several specialized UK publications, the freight drones are T150 quadcopters made by London-based Malloy Aeronautics

Though exact details have not been released by UK authorities, reports say dozens of the Malloy T150 cargo drones will soon be headed to Ukraine, primarily for use getting supplies to forces in the field. They’ll also be flown for medical deliveries to emergency services caring for people injured by Russian rocket strikes. 

Those are concurrent to material contained within the $33 billion aid being provided by the US. That has contained non-combat gear as well as effective anti-tank and -personnel weapons like switchblade drones.

Additionally aiding the Ukraine’s defense efforts have been countless UAVs developed for consumer or enterprise use donated by manufacturers, retailers, and individuals around the globe. Often, tech aboard those non-military craft has been repurposed for defensive and attack missions.

Read more: Video tweet credits Phantom 3 in Ukraine grenade drop through Russian sunroof 

The Mallory heavy-lift supply drones are intended to augment Ukraine’s capacities to quickly resupply forces in combat, while reducing the risk of human or more expensive equipment loss using traditional vehicles. The specialized UAVs can carry up to 65 kg, and fly a maximum range of 70 km. 

Both those craft and a version with even larger weight capacity were used by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary last year in tests to supply UK ships that currently receive provisions from more expensive helicopter transport. Other branches of the country’s military have used the Malloy craft to transport urgent supplies – including blood products to treat wounded soldiers – in simulated battlefield situations, as well as rescuing overboard sailors.

Read moreRoyal Navy tests drones for blood deliveries to battlefield medics

Though the Malloy cargo drones are designed for supply transport, the punishing effectiveness with which Ukraine forces have rework non-combat craft for attack purposes makes it possible the UK vehicles, too, may wind up carrying even heavier munitions than smaller UAVs have. 

Indeed, the tide-turning impact of both military-grade and adapted consumer drones by Ukraine troops have been so punishing to advancing Russian forces that some experts believe their deployment will provoke a total rethink of decades of war strategies.

Russian use of drones, by contrast, have been far less effective, and increasingly the butt of Ukraine forces who’ve captured and examined the craft’s often slap-shod innards.

Read moreUkraine videos mock foreign tech in Russia’s Orlov-10 recon drones 

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