Pentagon: US “Ghost” Drones for Ukraine Designed for Attack
By Staff, Agencies
The Pentagon said Thursday that the “Ghost” drones the US will send to Ukraine are designed for attacking targets and are destroyed after a single use.
The drones developed by the US Air Force are part of America's latest arms package for Ukraine, added the Pentagon after the White House had said earlier more than 121 Phoenix Ghost Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems would be provided to Ukraine.
On Thursday, US President Joe Biden announced $800m in new military aid to Ukraine amid the new phase of Russia’s military operation there. Russia has announced the new phase of the operation as fighting raged in the breakaway Donbas region.
Ukrainian forces have already used Western weapons including Stinger and Javelin missiles along with drones, but the Pentagon said the Ghost drones were well suited for the coming fight in Donbas region.
"It was developed for a set of requirements that very closely match what the Ukrainians need right now in Donbas," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said, without elaborating.
There is not much known about the drones, including their range and precise capabilities, and Kirby declined to elaborate on the drones, other than saying 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," Kirby said.
A senior defense official reportedly told Pentagon reporters in a background briefing that “what I can tell you about the Phoenix Ghost is: this was rapidly developed by the Air Force, in response, specifically, to Ukrainian requirements.”
The official went on to talk about the Phoenix Ghost and the Switchblade drone that the US has already delivered to Ukraine. Switchblades are often referred to as “kamikaze drones” or “loitering munitions,” since they can fly over a target before crashing and detonating in a precision strike.
The Phoenix Ghost provides “the same sort of tactical capability,” the senior defense official said, and is a one-way weapon.
Few Ukrainians have been trained in the United States on how to operate Switchblade drones. However, Kirby said training for the Ghost drones would not be different from the training on the Switchblade.
Biden’s announcement on Thursday came eight days after Washington revealed a previous $800m military aid package which contains artillery systems, artillery ammunition, helicopters, and armored personnel carriers.
“Today, I’m announcing another $800m to further augment Ukraine’s ability to fight in the east and the Donbas region,” Biden said. “This package includes heavy artillery weapons, dozens of howitzers and 144,000 rounds of ammunition to go with those howitzers. It also includes more tactical drones.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the military offensive in Ukraine on February 24, which it said was designed to demilitarize and “de-nazify” Ukraine.
Moscow has been slapped with unprecedented sanctions by the US-led NATO military alliance, but it insists that the operation will continue until all the goals are met.