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Ukraine starts mass production of 750 km range “kamikaze” drones

Ukraine’s military receives its first AQ 400 Scythe drones with a remarkable 750 km range; the manufacturer says it produces 100 Scythes monthly and targets 500 units a month, emphasizing local production.
AQ 400 Scythe unmanned aerial vehicles. Photo: Twitter/terminal_AI_Inc

The Ukrainian military has received an initial batch of new AQ 400 Scythe long-range one-way attack drones. The manufacturer has also revealed its production capacity, which currently stands at 100 drones per month, with intentions to ramp up production in the future, according to Defense Blog.

Terminal Autonomy, formerly known as One Way Aerospace, has announced the successful completion of procurement efforts designed to support the combat deployment of their AQ 400 Scythe system.

AQ 400 Scythe UAV on the launch ramp. Photo: Twitter/terminal_AI_Inc

In an official statement, the company emphasized that this achievement, characterized by an initial production capacity of 100 units a month and ambitious plans to reach 500 units monthly, represents a substantial advancement in enhancing the strategic warfare capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Terminal Autonomy is proud to announce we have successfully completed procurement for battle deployment of our AQ 400 Scythe system. With an initial production capacity of 100 units and plans to scale to 500 units monthly, we’re pushing boundaries in strategic warfare, the company wrote on X/Twitter. 

Additionally, the company shared a video showing the launches of its AQ 400 drones with the comment “To Moscow,” implying that its drone might have been used in some of the previous drone attacks on Russia’s Moscow region:

750 km range, 32-70 kg payload

The AQ 400 Scythe is a long-range drone with a 750 km range, specifically designed for launch from short airstrips or catapults. It boasts the ability to carry payloads of up to 32 kilograms, with the option to expand this capacity to 70 kilograms by sacrificing some range. Notable characteristics of this drone include its swift assembly, mass production capabilities, and cost-effectiveness, positioning it as a pivotal asset in contemporary warfare.

AQ 400 Scythe unmanned aerial vehicles. Photo: Twitter/terminal_AI_Inc

Terminal Autonomy has strategically established “kamikaze” drone production through a network of smaller facilities and engineering firms experienced in crafting similar platforms. While the company does source certain components from abroad, mainly from Germany and the United Kingdom, the project’s core focus lies in maximizing production localization within Ukraine’s borders.

Not only Scythes

The company also produces smaller one-way attack drones, the quadcopter-based AQV 120 Scalpel Loitering Munition and the plane-like AQ 100 Bayonet loitering munition that carries a 3 kg warhead.

Forbes wrote in April that Terminal Autonomy’s Scalpel initially carried a warhead of about one kilogram “but this was not always enough to destroy heavy tanks, so a new version has been launched which carries a more powerful 2.5 kilo warhead.”

Ukraine’s drone production

Earlier, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov reported that Ukraine was producing thousands and even tens of thousands of drones of “certain categories” per month, possibly implying the small first-person-view drones massively used on the front.

Among the notable long-range UAVs, Ukraine produces the UJ-26 Bober suicide drone that can fly 800 km while carrying a 25 kg explosive warhead.

Also, the CEO of the Ukrainian defense conglomerate Ukroboronprom, Herman Smetanin, confirmed mass production of Ukrainian “kamikaze” drones with a combat range of up to 1,000 km. Additionally, the company supports the production of FPV drones from private firms, further enhancing Ukraine’s drone capabilities.

In addition to aerial drones, Ukrainian companies also manufacture uncrewed surface vehicles (maritime drones) and develop land drones.

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