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Ukrainian Cobra fixed-wing suicide drone achieves rapid production

Ukrainian engineers have developed and launched the Cobra fixed-wing “kamikaze” drone manufacturing, with a 300 km operational range and 15 kg payload capacity, using riveted steel construction for rapid and affordable production.
Ukraine’s Cobra one-way attack drone on the launch catapult. Photo: Facebook/Vitalii Bryzhalov

Ukrainian engineers from Kryvyi Rih, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, have designed and established the production of Cobra, a fixed-wing one-way attack strike drone with a range of about 300 km, Inter TV channel reported.

“it’s a kamikaze drone, which we called Cobra because it bites and its job is to destroy,” one of the designers told Inter.

Cobra is made of riveted steel

The Cobra “kamikaze” UAV’s body and wings utilize aircraft-grade technology, enhancing speed and cost-efficiency. While most drones commonly employ lighter materials like wood or composites, engineers achieved a notable edge with riveted steel.

3D CAD model of the Cobra suicide drone. Image: Facebook/Vitalii Bryzhalov

The drone has a metal body of riveted steel, which simplifies and cheapens the UAV production. Cobra’s production cost is about $2,000 per unit, according to the designers. Meanwhile, a team of ten workers can manufacture one drone from scratch in three hours.

At the same time, the drone’s design can be changed in a few days to give it other sizes, shapes, or patterns.

Rivets can be seen on the wings of the Cobra suicide drone. Image: Facebook/Vitalii Bryzhalov

“[Using] carbon fiber means [using] very expensive matrixes and a very slow process, as there’s a glue involved that takes 24 hours to cure. If you use more traditional materials like sheet steel or aluminium, you could build 10 planes a day, and it would cost five times less,” says Vitalii Bryzhalov, Cobra’s design engineer.

Cobra can carry 15 kg of explosives up to 300 km

The Cobra drone reportedly has a three-meter wingspan and a length of two meters, the takeoff weight is 40 kg, of which 15 kg is the payload, and the UAV is launched from a catapult.

The drone’s primary function is target destruction, facilitated by its potent engine capable of delivering ammunition over 300 kilometers. It achieves a speed of 150 km/h.

“We need thousands of them. One drone – one target. There are thousands of targets, we need thousands of the drones,” Vitalii Bryzhalov notes.

The Cobra suicide drone can operate autonomously, meaning it can independently discern its route and target. This autonomy decreases the likelihood of errors during drone control, consequently elevating its effectiveness within combat scenarios.

The military is currently testing the Cobra aerial vehicle at the proving ground.

Localized production

The Kryvyi Rih engineers have also produced the drone’s engine and propeller. The propellers are made from beech wood.

Cobra kamikaze drone’s disassembled engine is also designed and produced by Kryvyi Rih engineers. Photo: Facebook/Vitalii Bryzhalov

Cobra’s electronics are also manufactured in Ukraine, which reduces production costs and logistical risks. Engineers are already using domestic engines, injectors, and servos, planning to get sensors, controllers, communication, and navigation equipment soon.

“Today we continue to localize components. The engine injector, servos, and later sensors, controllers, communication and navigation,” Vitalii Bryzhalov wrote on Facebook.

Funded by donations

The Cobra project is crowdfunded like many other military technology projects in Ukraine.

“These are all very complicated and expensive things that would cost millions [of hryvnias], and since we don’t have such resources, we do them as volunteer engineers, and thanks to your support, we are able to buy materials, tools, and equipment,” Bryzhalov thanked the donators.

Drone production in Ukraine

Recently, the Ukrainian military received an initial batch of AQ 400 Scythe long-range one-way attack drones from manufacturer Terminal Autonomy. Production capacity currently stands at 100 drones per month, with plans to increase output to 500 units monthly.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov reported Ukraine was producing thousands of drones monthly, likely referring to the small first-person-view models extensively used on the frontlines.

Notable Ukrainian long-range drones include the UJ-26 Bober, which can fly 800 km carrying a 25 kg warhead, and newly mass-produced kamikaze drones with 1,000 km combat range. 

Beyond aerial systems, Ukrainian companies also manufacture naval drones and are developing land-based uncrewed vehicles.

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