Ukraine Develops Drone for Remote Demining
In Ukraine, testing has commenced for the autonomous ST1 drone designed to detect mines. This Ukrainian-made device is set to significantly expedite the demining process on Ukrainian territory, enhancing its safety. This was announced by Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov.
According to the official, the demining drone is equipped with a mine detector and sensors that enable it to navigate obstacles at low altitudes. Onboard, a powerful microcomputer processes data and transmits it to demining experts in real-time.
"On average, ST1 works four times faster than a human. Rescuers from the State Emergency Service, the Armed Forces, and the National Police can control the drone from a safe location and search for mines," Mykhailo Fedorov emphasized.
The experimental drone model is actively undergoing field testing. The development team is collecting feedback from professionals, working on improvements, and preparing for the device's production scale-up.
It's worth noting that demining is a critical issue in Ukraine. The Ministry of Internal Affairs reports that nearly 30% of the country's territory is currently affected by landmines. Approximately 174,000 square kilometers of land are potentially hazardous for both life and agriculture.
Given the gravity of this situation, one of the key areas of support from Western allies and partners is assistance with demining.
Switzerland recently approved a new financial assistance package for Ukraine worth 100 million Swiss francs (103.5 million euros) for demining activities in civilian and agricultural areas. Switzerland actively participates in humanitarian demining operations in Ukraine, having allocated 15.2 million Swiss francs for this purpose in 2022 and 2023.
In early October, the United Kingdom approved a new military assistance package for Ukraine, totaling over 115 million euros. This package includes demining support, assistance with transportation, and the strengthening of critical infrastructure protection. Specifically, it includes necessary equipment to aid Ukrainian soldiers in demining minefields, bridging equipment for river crossings, trenches, and heavy transport vehicles for removing Russian non-explosive barriers.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands intends to bolster its support for Ukraine by offering Ukrainian military personnel training in the detection and neutralization of sea mines.
Demining resources for Ukraine are provided as part of military assistance packages from various allies, including the United States, Germany, Denmark, Australia, Spain, and others.
To recap, as of September 29, Ukraine's State Emergency Service reported that since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, 251 civilians, including 13 children, have lost their lives due to explosions involving hazardous objects.