The Australian company SYPAQ has officially announced that its Corvo cardboard drones are currently in use in Ukraine. This low-cost drone is primarily designed for light transport. However, following feedback from Ukrainian soldiers, it can also perform reconnaissance missions.
On March 2, the Australian company SYPAQ announced that its CORVO drones had been delivered to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The Corvo Precision Payload Delivery System (PPDS) is not a conventional drone, at least structurally speaking: it is a drone made entirely of cardboard. It was developed in Melbourne through a $1.1 million partnership with the Australian Defence Force (ADF). It was initially developed for transporting and dropping light equipment for isolated soldiers during operations (ammunition, first aid kit,...). After receiving feedback from the Ukrainian military, SYPAQ also added an intelligence and surveillance capability to perform reconnaissance missions.
The equipment being sensitive as it is offered to Ukraine, SYPAQ gives very little information about this drone; hand-launched or from a very light platform, 120 kilometers range.
It is interesting in various aspects:
- Simple production, with only a few parts requiring a certain level of precision.
- Low logistical footprint; the aircraft comes in the form of a cardboard plate a little larger than a pizza box.
- Easy construction; you simply need to remove the various parts from the cardboard plate with a knife and then build the drone using glue, tape and some rubber bands. You only need to use a wrench to attach the propeller to the motor.
- Easy to use: autonomous flight (GPS) through an interface that can be installed on an Android tablet. In case of jamming, the flight continues because the drone can locate itself according to its speed and direction.
- Multiple capabilities: reconnaissance and ultra-light transport. Perhaps a Ukrainian modification for ultra-light bombing or even be used to force Russian radars to turn on, allowing a Ukrainian firing of AGM-88 HARM anti-radar missiles.
- Very low cost per unit: estimated at a few thousand dollars see a few hundred dollars.
- The choice of cardboard also offers some stealth against radars.
- Declining reusability due to the stress on the structure: the cardboard will not be strong enough to make many flights.
- Limited load given the size of the drone.
- Probably limited use during storms.
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