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Friday, March 1, 2024

Cardboard Drones Change the Tides in Ukraine War

A fleet of drones crafted from cardboard, secured with elastic bands and tape have caused significant damage to multiple targets in the Ukraine War so far. Originating from Australia, these unconventional unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), named the Precision Payload Delivery System (PPDS), are delivered in a flat-packed form and can be assembled on-site with minimal effort.

Initially designed by Australian engineering firm SYPAQ for reconnaissance and logistics resupply, the PPDS has been repurposed by Ukrainian forces as a formidable weapon. Capable of carrying up to 3kg of explosives, this military-grade UAV boasts a range of over 75 miles, allowing it to reach targets deep within enemy territory.

Michael Partridge, representing SYPAQ Australia, explained the simplicity and versatility of the PPDS: “The capability brick we call it. It has an avionics programmable laptop or a tablet that allows you to mission plan. It also has a launcher. All very simple and quick, easily assembled in theatre and allows you to operate quite quickly.”

The shoebox-sized PPDS has gained notoriety for its devastating impact, reportedly even used to target a military base hundreds of miles inside Russian territory. In response to the escalating conflict, Australia has been supplying Kyiv with 100 PPDS drones each month since March last year.

Mr. Partridge highlighted the cost-effectiveness of the PPDS, stating, “These will roughly equate to $5,000 Australian Dollars or less than $2,000 US Dollars. When you look at the more military-grade systems, fixed-winged or not, you’re talking upward of $20,000 to $30,000. So it really does allow the user to use it in a more aggressive way due to the cost point of the product.”

As the conflict continues, these low-cost, yet highly effective, drones are changing the dynamics of modern warfare. The affordability and adaptability of the PPDS raise concerns about the potential vulnerability of sophisticated multimillion-dollar military hardware against such inexpensive but potent threats. Analysts predict that the evolution of these types of drones will continue, making them even more accessible and formidable by 2030. This development poses a significant challenge for the Department of Defense (DOD), the US military, and all modern armed forces, necessitating strategic planning to address this emerging threat landscape.

Matt Seldon
Matt Seldon
Matt Seldon, BSc., is an Editorial Associate with HSToday. He has over 20 years of experience in writing, social media, and analytics. Matt has a degree in Computer Studies from the University of South Wales in the UK. His diverse work experience includes positions at the Department for Work and Pensions and various responsibilities for a wide variety of companies in the private sector. He has been writing and editing various blogs and online content for promotional and educational purposes in his job roles since first entering the workplace. Matt has run various social media campaigns over his career on platforms including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and LinkedIn on topics surrounding promotion and education. His educational campaigns have been on topics including charity volunteering in the public sector and personal finance goals.

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