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Phoenix Ghost drone: What is it and why is it important?

Aerial drone attack, 3D rendering
Aerial drone attack, 3D rendering

What is a Phoenix Ghost drone?

The Phoenix Ghost drone is a military drone classified as a “small-explosive” or “loitering munition” drone. Phoenix Ghost drones came into the spotlight in 2022 when the US military announced them as a part of aid packages to Ukraine. They are designed to be operated by small groups or even a single soldier to take out forward enemy positions remotely.

How does a Phoenix Ghost drone work?

The Phoenix Ghost drone is “fired” into the air, where it can remain for up to 6 hours. The drone itself contains explosives that are effective against medium armor targets like artillery and can operate at night. The drones are used like ammunition, and once a target is identified by the pilot, it speeds towards it to detonate on impact.

Who makes Phoenix Ghost drones?

The Department of Defense has stated the Phoenix Ghost drones were developed in response to the needs of the Ukrainian Air Force. The drones are manufactured by Aevex Aerospace which is based in California, and since early 2022, it appears production has been ramping up. The first order to go to Ukraine was for 100 drones, and since then, every package has contained several hundred more than the last.

How do Phoenix Ghost drones compare to Switchblade drones?

Switchblade drones work the same way as Phoenix Ghost drones, but they come in 2 variations. The larger Switchblade 600 can carry a larger explosive than the Phoenix Ghost can. From what military officials have said in the Ukraine war, it appears the Switchblade system is more expensive but more effective at destroying tanks or heavily defended positions.

What is a one-way drone or loitering ammunition?

One-way drones, also known as loitering ammunition, are an exciting new development in military technology. These unmanned aerial vehicles are designed to be launched from a stationary position and use a combination of GPS and other sensors to locate and engage targets. Unlike traditional drones, which are typically used for reconnaissance or surveillance, one-way drones are designed to be a weapon in their own right.

Once the target has been identified, the drone is flown into it, exploding on impact and causing significant damage. Although they are still relatively new, one-way drones have already been used in several military operations with great success. With their ability to quickly and efficiently locate and eliminate targets, they are quickly becoming an essential tool in modern warfare.

How many Phoenix Ghost drones has the US sent to Ukraine?

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the US has sent 1,800 Phoenix Ghost drones to Ukraine as of February 2023. The US also sent 700 Switchblade drones during this period, which are a drone of a similar class. Besides the fact that each batch of military aid sent several hundred more Phoenix Ghost drones last year, defense officials indicated the Ukrainians were using them to great effect.

“The Ukrainians have been making excellent use of the Phoenix Ghost system,” anonymous defense official

How much does a Phoenix Ghost drone cost?

Military officials consider Phoenix Ghost drones to be cheaper than the Switchblade series, but defense officials haven’t revealed its exact cost. Little is known about the specifics of the Phoenix Ghost drone because it only recently became known by the public in 2022. The likely cost likely ranges somewhere between $30,000 and $60,000 per unit, depending on other operational requirements.

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Culturalist Press Staff

The Culturalist Press’ mission is to be a place for useful, informed, and relevant writing. Our goal is to be clear, concise, and refreshingly straightforward in our coverage of topics. We champion organizations focused on fact-based journalism as we ourselves are while trying to stay focused on covering topics that matter to everyone.Staff pieces: