Some civilian skills take on another meaning in the midst of the war in Ukraine. Those who filmed their holidays with a drone are now pilots sought after by both armies, as the effectiveness of commercial mini-drones has been demonstrated on the battlefield, reports Numerama.
Flying machines can indeed be used for reconnaissance, grenade shipments, or kamikaze missions. In Ukraine, it is even a former tour operator who now trains Ukrainian soldiers.
Comprehensive military training
Anton Frolon co-founded the Kryk ("crow" in Ukrainian) training center in Kiev in April 2022. Before the war, he organized trips to Latin America and filmed them with a drone. Today, its structure has already enabled more than 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers to train in drone piloting in combat. "Some are from the special forces," he said.
Every week, the Kryk Center welcomes about forty students who are trained in many aspects. "The training is not limited to the control of the drone," Anton Frolon told Numerama. "The goal is obviously to succeed in the reconnaissance or attack mission, but you also have to come back with the drone."
Centres under threat
With their success, however, these centers have become targets for the Russian military. "A Russian Telegram group posted a list of twelve training centers based in Kiev. We were the first to be mentioned," explains the leader of Kryk. Despite this persistent threat, trainers and soldiers alike are there every day.
In parallel, Ukraine is still actively seeking to source drones, especially since DJI, the market leader, banned the sale of its models in the country and Russia in April 2022. Ukraine is therefore receiving the devices from abroad, thanks to major donation campaigns that started last year.
- War in Ukraine