U.S. Startups are Donating Drones to Ukraine – According to a Wall Street Journal report, over half a dozen American drone startups have sold or donated equipment to Ukraine in recent weeks. Reporters confirmed that Skydio and Brinc Drones, two American companies that manufacture unmanned aerial vehicles have donated or sold dozens of drones to Ukraine in recent weeks.
The companies reportedly began assisting Ukraine after officials from the country expressed concerns that DJI, a Chinese drone maker that supplied equipment to Ukraine, was purposely creating “technical glitches” that hurt Ukrainian troops’ ability to fight back against Russia.
DJI responded to accusations that it was tampering with drones used by the Ukrainian military and facilitating the deaths of Ukrainian civilians by allowing Russian troops to also use their equipment. The Chinese firm insisted that all DJI products are designed for civilian use and “do not meet military specifications.”
How Many Drones Have Reached Ukraine?
The report describes how 10 drones were donated by Brinc, and 50 drones sold. Skydio has donated several dozen drones to Ukraine, and sold several hundred to NGOs that have then sent the equipment overseas.
Hundreds more drones have also been sent by other U.S. startups.
Switchblade Manufacturer in Direct Talks with Ukraine
AeroVironment Inc., the company behind the Switchblade drones sent in their hundreds to Ukraine and that the United States military trained Ukrainian soldiers to use, is reportedly in direct talks with Kyiv over the possibility of increasing sales to the country.
CEO Wahid Nawabi said on Friday that the Switchblade 300 and Switchblade 600 drone models have been a “very, very effective tool” for the Ukrainian military. He also said that the manufacturer is “actively pursuing more sales to the U.S. military” as well as Ukraine.
Nawabi also admitted that the company would need additional assistance from the Pentagon to ensure that any new orders can be fulfilled, citing supply chain problems.
“Supply chain is a bottleneck,’ he said. “We need the parts.”
Nawabi has asked the United States government for a “DO” designation that will give the company a higher priority in obtaining microprocessors and other technological equipment. The California-based company may succeed, too, with the Pentagon last week fast-tracking the manufacture and shipping of dozens of new “Phoenix Ghost” drones manufactured by AEVEX Aerospace.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.