Deadly but tricky to fly, suicide drones have Ukraine putting thousands of soldiers through pilot training – By Sam Skove (Defense One) / Dec 3, 2023
Private schools are churning out troops who can use hobbyist racing quadcopters as deadly loitering munitions.
As Ukraine leans on suicide drones to wear down Russia’s invading forces, private, civilian-run training schools are working to supply the Ukrainian army with thousands of pilots.
That’s no mean feat. The drones are extremely hard to fly, requiring weeks of training before a pilot is ready to fight on the front line.
“The chance that you will literally fly into a wall during training is higher” than with other types of drones, said Ihor Dvoretskyi, a project manager with Ukraine’s Defense Ministry who also volunteers with Victory Drones, one of the country’s largest drone education centers.
More formally known as loitering munitions, suicide drones have emerged as a key weapon of the war, with both sides using them in large numbers. Some are sophisticated, purpose-built munitions, but many are hobbyist racing drones adapted to serve as flying improvised explosive devices. Such drones are also known as first-person view (FPV) drones, after the goggles used to fly them.