US to supply Phoenix Ghost drones to Ukraine

In a statement the Pentagon said, it will provide one time use attack drones in its latest arms package to the embattled country.

The US has ramped up arms shipments to Ukraine ahead of a fresh Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine, even as Russia consolidates its hold on the region following nearly two months of war.

Ukrainian forces have used weapons procured from the West, including Javelin and Stinger missiles, drones such as the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 and U.S. Switchblade, against Russian targets.

In a statement the White House said, more than 121 Phoenix Ghost Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems would be provided to Ukraine as part of the new arms package.

Ghost drones are well suited for the coming fight in Ukraine’s Donbas region, with officials describing the flat terrain being similar to the U.S. state of Kansas.

“It was developed for a set of requirements that very closely match what the Ukrainians need right now in Donbas,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

Very little information is available on public domain surrounding the technical specifications on these drones, including their range and capabilities; Kirby declined to offer more details.

He did mention that they were designed mainly for striking targets.

“It can also be used to give you a sight picture of what it’s seeing, of course. But its principal focus is attack,” said Kirby.

A small number of Ukrainians have been trained in the United States on how to operate single-use Switchblade drones that fly into their targets and detonate on impact.

Training for the Ghost drones would be similar to the training on the Switchblade, said Kirby while declining to provide any further details on the number of Ukrainians who would be trained on the new system.

Earlier on Thursday, Kirby said, the Ghost drones were developed rapidly for Ukraine; he was quick to add that their development started before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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