On the night of August 26-27, 2023, the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) carried out a targeted operation within Russian Federation territory. The SSU launched an assault on the Russian Air and Space Forces’ base, employing Corvo PPDS drones to target and neutralize four Su-30 and one MiG-29 aircraft, as reported by official SSU statements.
The operation’s Corvo PPDS drones were described as “kamikaze drones” manufactured by SYPAQ, an Australian technology company. According to the company website, the UAS is designed for multifaceted applications in the contemporary battlespace. The Corvo Precision Payload Delivery System – Heavy Lift (PPDS-HL) and PPDS are an economical, one-time-use Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS). Its adaptable framework empowers end users to innovate within the battlespace, swiftly adapting the system to address evolving operational needs.
The PPDS is engineered to be transported to the theater in a flat pack setup. Soldiers can effortlessly assemble the system using basic tools, load the payload, program the avionics module with the desired target location, and initiate the launch of the aerial vehicle.
Specification information available from the company website for the PPDS-HL includes:
Range and Endurance– 80km with a 6kg payload, with 3kg of payload, range can be extended to 200km
Cruise Speed– 60km/hr for optimum cruise, able to fly up to 100km/hr
Launch– Hand or bungee launch
Recovery– Belly landing, deck landing (large vessels), and landing into water (the system is buoyant and the avionics module is waterproof)
Airframe– Flying wing configuration; plastic, wood, and foam construction; low-cost and disposable.
Ground Control Station– Tablet device (Android or WIndows OS)
Datalink– There are three options- No datalink, Encrypted telemetry radio (low data rate), and Encrypted IP mesh radio (high data rate)
Applications– Logistics, Comms Relay, ISR, Mapping, Swarm, Decoy, and Target
What does this mean for homeland security?
The successful deployment of low-cost, disposable, multi-use systems to target multi-million dollar high-technology weapons systems has been one of the primary lessons learned in this conflict by defense agencies worldwide. Although some may see this as a military or defense issue, homeland security agencies, critical infrastructure, and law enforcement agencies should also take note. Nefarious actors will take advantage of successful tactics used by both our adversaries and allies, including the use of similar drone systems, to target critical infrastructure, mass gatherings, and other essential homeland assets. The creativity and technical abilities of bad actors should not be underestimated.
Post Image- Corvo PPDS flat-pack setup and assembled system (Image Credit: SYPAQ)