Original Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill has extended his support for Ukraine beyond raising money for the nation’s Army of Drones campaign to now lending a hand (or more like a throat) to helping Ukrainians keep safe from aerial strikes through their use of an app called Air Alert.
Star Wars hero Hamill initially began aiding Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s invasion by joining efforts to raise funds to buy and ship drones from Western Europe to for use by local forces. The actor’s enduring support for Kyiv’s resistance to Moscow’s unprovoked invasion led President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to appoint the American last September as ambassador of Ukraine’s Army of Drones campaign – one of the defense, humanitarian, and reconstruction projects for which the nation’s UNITED24 organization is generating donor financing.
Now Hamill is throwing his voice behind Ukraine’s efforts to protect its people from Russian missile, rocket, and drone attacks by providing vocal messages to the English version of the Air Alert app that informs people on aerial strike situations in real time.
Created by Ukrainian company Ajax System after the invasion had begun as a supplemental, hand-held early warning supplement to air raid sirens, the Air Alert app sends attack warning information to users in all 24 regions of Ukraine and Kyiv.
In its most recent update, Air Alert incorporates Hamill’s voice-over providing updates on five kinds of attack threats Ukraine regularly faces: air strikes, artillery fire, street fighting, and chemical and radiation hazards. That new 4.2 version is available to the app’s some 11 million users, with Hamill’s English language option ready for downloading on iOS, Android, and Huawei devices.
December 23 Update
In addition to his work on the app, Hamill has also shot a video calling on people around the globe to donate to a campaign to send a new batch of drones that have proven very effective in past use to Ukraine troops.
In his role as UNITED24 and Army of Drones ambassador, Hamill made the appeal to help fund the purchase and transport of 10 additional Heidrun reconnaissance drones to Ukraine defenders. The Danish-made UAVs have a flight range of 25 km, over which they can transmit real time intelligence video using communications tech designed to withstand enemy attacks, while also concealing the position of the operator.
The drones were very effective in use when an initial delivery of 25 was made last spring, and UNITED24 says additional numbers would help save thousands of Ukrainian lives. Hamill’s plea for support also doubled as hommage to Ukraine soldier and citizens alike as the Luke Skywalkers of our era.
“Movies teach us that during the most difficult times in history, when evil attacks good, when darkness attacks light, superheroes always come to the rescue,” Hamill says. “But in reality, things are not like in the movies. There are no superheroes wearing capes, Jedi knights, time machines, or magic wands. Instead, there are millions of real people standing up to real evil. We can help them. Even when we are far, far away, we can join their fight. I call on you to support the brave Ukrainians, who are standing up to evil right now, and join the fundraiser for 10 Heidrun drones that will help perform reconnaissance missions.”
The original Star Wars good guy is even more beloved in Ukraine now that Hamill has thrown his weight behind its defensive efforts – one reason why UKRAINE24 coordinator Yaroslava Gres believes both citizens facing attacks and other people present in the conflict will choose the language option of Luke Skywalker helping them avoid danger.
“Only few days ago Hamill announced fundraising for ten Danish Heidrun drones to support Ukrainian defenders, and today we are presenting another project with his participation — an English version of the Air Alert, available for journalists, international missions, and everyone who is currently working in Ukraine,” Gres said. “I am sure that many Ukrainians will change the language of the app at least once to hear, ‘Attention, the street fighting alert is over. May the Force be with you.’”