On April 21, 2022, the United States unveiled a new package of Ukraine military aid estimated at $800 million. Among the list of weapons to be delivered were howitzers, ammunition… and 121 “Phoenix Ghost tactical drones”.
Behind this new designation is a kamikaze drone, also called loitering munition, similar to the Switchblade drone that the US has already delivered to Ukraine in previous assistance packages. These single-use drones are used to hit armored targets or entrenched positions in a range of up to 40 kilometers.
The new platform was designed by AEVEX Aerospace. Its development was accelerated following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and adapted to the specific needs of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Donbas region.
“This is a drone that had been in development before the invasion,” Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said in a press briefing. “In discussions with the Ukrainians about their requirements, we believed that this particular system would very nicely suit their needs, particularly in eastern Ukraine.”
In a previous briefing, Kirby revealed that Ukrainian forces were already scheduled to undergo training to operate Switchblade drones before the war erupted. Training for the Phoenix Ghost should be similar.