Ukraine has an unlikely ally in fight against Russia

Ukraine has an unlikely ally in fight
Ukraine has an unlikely ally in fight

Since the beginning of the war, Ukraine and Russia have creatively used military and civilian drones (especially DJI drones) for tactical surveillance and attack.

Although Russia supports you on the UN Security Council, you will be surprised to learn that China has helped destroy more Russian troops than expected. All this is due to the extensive use of DJI drones by the Ukrainian military. It is said that more than 90,000 Russians have been killed or injured since February.

Since the beginning of the war, Ukraine and Russia have used military and civilian drones for tactical surveillance and attacks, particularly the creation of DJI, based in Silicon Valley, Shenzhen. Quyen, China. It manufactures some of the world’s most popular consumer drones, including the Phantom, Mavic, Air, Mini and Inspire series. The Chinese company also has a number of larger corporate drones. But in Ukraine, the small Mavic series is used, the weight of which is less than a kilogram.

For the first time in military history, non-military propellants are rapidly becoming the mainstay of tactical strike and surveillance weapons as well as wartime propaganda. All technologies and products today, including the Internet, satellite navigation, and digital cameras, are derived from proprietary military technology.

For Ukraine, Chinese DJI drones have become the weapon of choice to attack Russian forces. Currently, the most popular sport model is the Mavic series, which is light and can fly about 10 km in 45 minutes.

These drones may not be weapons of mass destruction, but they are equipped with the technology necessary to defeat Russian forces on the battlefield. All DJI drones have a built-in GPS navigator for precise geotagging. With the right geotags, artillery units can destroy Russian positions and equipment. In previous battles, advanced scouts were needed to locate and communicate with units.

With an AI-controlled obstacle avoidance system, this drone can avoid physical obstacles such as trees, buildings and hills, and return home if the battery is low or communication is lost between pilots and pilots. The device also captures 4K footage of people, equipment, and places to help tactical commanders plan their next attack. Some of these drones can be launched quickly without warning.

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The drone is cleared.

The Ukrainians have turned these photos into effective propaganda. Real-life war footage of soldiers being blown up by drone bullets has surfaced on social media for the first time, garnering millions of views. Live footage of the war is one of the reasons why Ukrainians were able to create a propaganda story they liked. If the US invasion of Iraq was a televised war, this is a mobile phone war.

But how did the Ukrainians turn these Chinese consumer drones into grenade launchers? It’s simple: improvise a grenade or IED using 3D printing, in addition to an existing device. Some drones carry 3-6 types of small ammunition that are dropped on enemy positions or equipment. A single bullet can injure or kill a soldier, and the psychological impact on Russian soldiers is enormous. Likewise, when a $5 million T-90 tank is destroyed by a $1,000 drone, the cost-to-damage ratio is disproportionate. During the past two world wars, deep trenches protected soldiers from snipers and anti-aircraft missiles. But now a small drone appears to have descended and revealed bare ground.

While the Bayraktar-TB2, Turkey’s Switchblade or Iran’s Kamikaze Shahed-136 are designed to build military drones, DJI drones are in the gray area where they are. customized into military and surveillance technology. Even before the war in Ukraine, DJI had been on the US Department of Defense’s watch list since 2018. The drone maker was officially identified as a “potential threat to national security” in July last year and their products were officially blacklisted in October. Along with 13 other companies on the list of Chinese companies are believed to have close ties. closely with the Chinese military.

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At the start of the war, DJI was accused of providing the Russians with the DJI AeroScope user code to locate and remove the drone and its operators. Since then, drone manufacturers have tried to differentiate themselves and win sympathy from the European and American user markets.

In addition, the Indian government is reluctant to ban the entry of drones into the country. In February, India officially banned the import of drones except for R&D and defense purposes.

In the public eye, it is seen as another Chinese product that is a victim of India’s policy towards certain Chinese products. Public opinion is that drones are a security risk, so the ban is a welcome change. But as a longtime user of DJI products, I can speak on behalf of many filmmakers and drone pilots: DJI is a world-class product and no product. Others have revolutionized the democratization of filmmaking/content creation over the past decade. It helps us see the world from a completely different perspective, something that is only possible with Hollywood’s budget.

One meme surrounding drones is that a helicopter pilot and photographer lost his job when a DJI drone appeared in the sky. Many are trying to break DJI’s dominance, including French Parrot, Intel, and even GoPro. No one can compete with DJI.

There has been a lot of talk lately about startups in India building drones for India and the world. I support everything. But as filmmakers and content creators, Indian drone maker DJI falls far short of what they can do for the masses. DJI isn’t just about drones, it’s about an entire ecosystem of drones, cameras, lenses, gimbal, color recognition, focusing systems, and recording devices. In 2017, DJI also acquired a majority stake in popular Swedish camera maker Hasselblad, cementing its leading position as a maker of drones and integrated video equipment. Forget the lesser known global Indian imaging giants such as Sony, Arri and Canon, which provide a portfolio of creative products for filmmakers and content.

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While every content creator wants to be an early adopter, I don’t understand the cost, accessibility, and practicality. Many startups focus on military, agricultural, and industrial applications, while excluding some content creators. It’s also easy to build drones into the sky, but it’s not easy to create an entire ecosystem. When we started flying the DJI Phantom 1 in 2013, we had to attach a GoPro camera to the drone. It was an amazing accident. Since then, drones have evolved into near-autonomous flying vehicles. As with anything else in life, there is always a gray area when it comes to legal market closures. You can still buy some samples from the Chandni Chowk gray market for $70,000. But for how long?

What is the effect? It’s hard for content creators to create the image their audience is using. Second, there is still a lot of work to be done in India’s drone manufacturing sector. Third, and most importantly, such important technologies cannot let some innovative startups find their own place. More than 100 companies are currently competing for different uses of drones. Some may succeed, but more than half fail. The independent dream of drone technology depends on India’s success as a semiconductor hub. To be successful, they need to copy DJI’s guidelines for consumer display and become an integral part of the creative community and produce drones for bakery businesses. daily noodles for them.

As the war in Ukraine escalated, the vision of drones caught the attention of war strategists, campaigners and content creators. America’s Himars, FGM-148 Javelin, Turkey’s Byraktar-TB2, Iran’s Shahed-136 UAV and China’s DJI UAV have a place in military history thanks to Hollywood war blockbusters finding history and history.

Mike Sangma is a former journalist, wildlife videographer, and DGCA registered drone pilot who has flown a variety of DJI drones for over 10 years.