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Ukraine to mass produce “Shmavic,” domestic replacement for Chinese DJI Mavic UAV

Ukrainian company developed “Shmavic” – domestic analogue of Chinese DJI Mavic drone popular with military. Indigenous drone cheaper, more resilient against EW, coming soon to Ukrainian armed forces. Serial production coming soon.
A Ukrainian advanced combat drone, “Shmavik,” analogous to the Chinese DJI Mavic quadcopter, during a demonstration of new domestic weapons in Kyiv Oblast on 13 April 2024. In Kyiv Oblast. Photo: Oleksandr Synytsia / UNIAN.
Ukraine to mass produce “Shmavic,” domestic replacement for Chinese DJI Mavic UAV

Ukraine has developed and is preparing to launch serial production of “Shmavic,” a domestic military drone analogous to the hugely popular civilian Chinese DJI Mavic UAV extensively used by Ukrainian forces on the frontlines, Forbes reported.

Ukrainian forces use a very wide range of drones, but the small cheap Chinese DJI Mavic remains the most popular. At the tactical level, small drones enable the Ukrainian military to survey the battlefield. Given the ammunition shortage, they serve as a form of “pocket artillery” for the Armed Forces, according to Valerii Yakovenko, co-founder of the DroneUA group of companies.

Yet China’s ambiguous position in the Russo-Ukrainian war erodes the Ukrainian army’s trust in Chinese drones. Meanwhile, Mavic’s manufacturer has repeatedly asserted that it only produces drones for civilian use, not for combat.

According to Forbes, the “Shmavic” is the creation of an unnamed Ukrainian company that has been manufacturing drones for various purposes, including bomber drones, since 2017. Over a year of dedicated effort and the company’s investment exceeding $500,000 went into the development of this crucial piece of military hardware.

The key was to create a true military drone, not just a civilian model,” emphasized the CEO of the company behind the “Shmavic.”

Meet Shmavic

Compared to the Chinese Mavic, the Ukrainian “Shmavic” boasts several significant advantages tailored for the harsh realities of modern warfare. Its rugged design makes it highly resistant to damage, allowing for repairs and maintenance even under demanding field conditions. Furthermore, the drone incorporates an integrated payload system capable of carrying two munitions weighing up to 500 grams each.

In terms of flight performance, the “Shmavic” can remain airborne for 75 to 80 minutes without any payloads, depending on flight conditions. Even when carrying its maximum payload capacity, it can operate for up to 35 minutes within a 15-kilometer radius on a single battery charge. But perhaps its most crucial edge lies in its enhanced resilience against enemy electronic warfare systems, providing a much-needed layer of protection for Ukrainian forces.

The “Shmavic” is priced at around $3,500 for a complete set, which includes the drone itself, a smart controller with a 10-inch screen, five batteries, spare propellers, a charging station, cables, and repair tools. This price point is comparable to the popular Chinese DJI Mavic model, making the Ukrainian drone an affordable and attractive option.

The company behind the “Shmavic” has ambitious production plans. With part of the manufacturing process taking place in Poland, where components like motors, control systems, and eventually proprietary cameras will be produced, the planned facilities can churn out up to 5,000 “Shmavic” drones per month. An initial production run of 500 units per month is slated to begin on 1 June.

According to the developers, the “Shmavic” is designed to meet the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ estimated annual requirement of 50,000 to 60,000 Mavic-class drones. Currently, the drone is undergoing final testing, and the company awaits the signing of a government contract.

Bonus fact

The Ukrainian name Shmavic features the same shm-reduplication originating in Yiddish for sarcastic or ironic effect, as the one used in English, like in “fancy-schmancy restaurant.”

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