The Ukrainian government has announced the expansion of its crowd-sourced drone project, intending to provide thousands of drones and many more operators for battlefield service.

Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhaylo Fedorov, announced that the Army of Drones project would soon start receiving graduates from ten more drone training schools in addition to the present two, Odessa Journal reported.

The project has raised 855 million Ukrainian Hryvnia ($23.21 million), The National News Agency of Ukraine wrote, adding that 472 drones have been collected under the project, out of which some have been deployed in battle.

Project Aim: Thousands of Drones

The project aim is to collect “200 tactical reconnaissance drones and thousands of civilian models and train enough operators to be able to handle all of them,” Kyiv Independent wrote.

The initiative collected Ukrainian Hryvnia 400 million ($10.9 million) within two weeks of its launch on July 1, enabling the government to buy “78 DJI Matrice, 300 RTK quadcopters “equipped with AI technology and thermographic cameras,” and 20 Fly Eye 3.0 fixed-wing UAVs” worth 260.5 million Ukrainian Hryvnia ($7.1 million). 

Two Polish Warmate loitering munitions and 20 attack drones were also acquired. 

The Importance of Drones

Ukraine launched the project five months into the war with Russia realizing the importance of unmanned aerial vehicles in large numbers, an unnamed Ukrainian Armed Forces drone trainer told the outlet.

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“Until recently, we did not realize how important this is, to have ubiquitous drone capacity throughout the armed forces,” the trainer said.

“There didn’t use to be a concept that every battalion needs drone operators. There are a lot of battalions that might need not one operator but three or more.”

Military Aims

The Ukrainian Armed Forces intend to use drones to determine the positions of Russian forces and target them without putting personnel at risk.

To bring private drone manufacturers into the project, Fedorov said that the initiative would provide them with a “great opportunity” “to test their equipment in harsh conditions.”