- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

What Is a 'Phoenix Ghost' Drone Developed by US That Is Being Sent to Ukraine?

© Sputnik / Alexey Kudenko / Go to the mediabankA destroyed Ukrainian tank on the street in the city of Volnovakha, which came under the control of the DPR.
A destroyed Ukrainian tank on the street in the city of Volnovakha, which came under the control of the DPR. - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.04.2022
On Thursday, US President Joe Biden stated that the US will provide Ukraine with a new $800 million in security assistance, which, according to the DoD, would comprise 72 Howitzers, 144,000 artillery rounds, components and other equipment, and over 121 new Phoenix tactical drones.
The previously unheard of "Phoenix Ghost" drones that the US will be sending to Ukraine amid ongoing conflict were, in fact, developed by California-based company, and are capable of targeting medium-armored objects while staying in the air longer, Politico reported.
According to the report, AEVEX Aerospace, based in California, developed the mysterious aircraft. The company was founded in 2017 and employs 500 workers with offices in California, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Phoenix Ghost is not included in the list of products on the company's website, which contains a number of drones for various uses.
AEVEX reportedly has a training range in Roswell, New Mexico, where the Phoenix Ghost was most likely tested.

The Phoenix Ghost "is a different type of aircraft, it’s a one-way aircraft that is effective against medium armored ground targets," according to retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies and member of the AEVEX board of directors, who was cited in the report as saying.

The drone can take off vertically, fly for six hours or more searching for or tracking a target, and use its infrared sensors to operate at night, according to the report. More to that, the Phoenix Ghost has a longer loitering capability than the Switchblade, which can only fly for around an hour.
AEVEX is the result of the merger of three defense-related companies: Merlin Global Services, CSG Solutions, and Special Operations Solutions.
The fast-track development is said to be a part of a bigger Pentagon push to work with small businesses to develop and buy new technology outside of the onerous acquisition hierarchy that frequently stifles or kills innovative ideas.
The launch of the Zircon hypersonic missile from the Admiral Gorshkov frigate in the Arctic Ocean. - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.11.2021
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And as Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said earlier this week, the Air Force drone program, which was already in development for some time before the ongoing special military operation started in late February, fulfilled Ukraine's precise criteria and has "similar capabilities" to the AeroVironment Switchblade drone already in the eastern European nation.
The Switchblade is a 5.5 lb (about 2.5 kg) drone that can loiter over an area for 30 to 40 minutes before being slammed into its target and detonating a small warhead. The US began deploying it to Ukraine in April.
According to a senior Pentagon official at a press briefing this Thursday, the Phoenix Ghost drones were created in response to Ukrainian specifications and will require minimal training.

"What I can tell you about the Phoenix Ghost [drone] is this was rapidly developed by the [US] Air Force in response specifically to Ukrainian requirements," the official said. "It will require some minimal training for knowledgeable UAS [unmanned aircraft systems] operators to be able to use it, and we are going to be working through those training requirements directly with the Ukrainian Armed Forces."

Kirby later said that he believed this drone system will “nicely suit their needs, particularly in eastern Ukraine.”
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