Lithuanian TV raises money to offer loitering munitions to Ukraine
Lithuanian online TV channel Laisves TV has started a fundraiser to buy a fleet of loitering munitions for Ukraine’s armed forces.
The new campaign, humorously called Legion of Boom, hopes to raise between €4 and €5 million ($4.1-$5.1 million) to acquire between 80 and 100 drones. It is set to run until August 24, 2022, the Independence Day of Ukraine.
The channel approached two drone makers to acquire two models of “kamikaze drones,” the Polish-made Warmate micro loitering munition of the manufacturer WB Group and the UJ-23 Topaz unmanned aircraft system of the Ukrainian company UkrJet.
The Warmate, in service with the Polish Army, is an electric-propelled UAV that can carry a payload of 1.4 kilograms (3.1 pounds) and has an operating range of 30 kilometers (19 miles).
The UJ-23 Topaz is a jet-powered multi-purpose unmanned aircraft system with a 10-kilo (22-pound) maximum payload, a top speed of 800 kilometers per hour (500 miles per hour) and a controlling range of 100 kilometers (62 miles).
“These angry killer drones can lift explosives and warheads, fly low undetected by ruzzian [sic] systems, zoom to the target and then – boom,” Laisves TV founder Andrius Tapinas explained. “They can hit tanks, command posts, even bridges and airfields.”
The Ukrainian military operates a variety of loitering munitions, particularly in the Donbas region. These single-use drones are used to hit armored targets or entrenched positions. In April 2022, the United States announced the delivery of 121 “Phoenix Ghost tactical drones,” a new platform specifically designed by AEVEX Aerospace to suit the needs of the Ukrainian armed forces.
Laisves TV has already run several successful crowdfunding campaigns for Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion, including the famous acquisition of a Bayraktar TB2 armed drone after raising €5 million in less than four days. Poland, Norway, and Canada followed in their footsteps with similar Bayraktar fundraisers.
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