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Ukraine to form its first-ever all-female UAV unit

Ukraine is breaking new ground by establishing an all-women volunteer unit focused on unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations alongside the nation’s military forces.
Ukrianian female soldiers
Ukraine’s female warriors. Credit: Espreso
Ukraine to form its first-ever all-female UAV unit

Igor Lutsenko, the founder of the Aero-Reconnaissance Support Center and recently appointed Orden Santiago strike drone company commander, said that Ukraine is forming a volunteer female unit that will work closely with the Defense Forces on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

In March 2023, Marine Yaryna Chornohuz proposed to create reconnaissance, aerial reconnaissance, sapper, sniper, mortar platoons, or an artillery battery for female soldiers. The Armed Forces of Ukraine called this proposal “acceptable after they have undergone appropriate professional training.”

The first Ukrainian women’s unit was created in the ranks of the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen before World War I. One of the world’s most famous women’s units is the Women’s Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom.

According to Lutsenko, the new initiative proposes to create a small unit for now. ”It all depends on the demand for participation in such a unit. The work involves (relatively) complex systems that require technical literacy, attentiveness and accuracy, basic engineering skills, and creative tactical thinking.”

The selection process for the unit will involve a competitive recruitment:

  • Assessing candidates’ ability to carry out combat missions within the unit.
  • Training, which simultaneously serves as a screening process.
  • Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) background checks.
  • Final decision on admission to the unit.

“Knowledge and experience in operating, maintaining, and repairing UAVs or similar systems, as well as military skills, will be an advantage. Programming experience work in technical fields (electronics, radio, etc.) will also be advantageous. But the main thing is a willingness to learn and adapt to the team,” Lutsenko writes.

Lutsenko also said that men interested in UAV service can also submit their information through the same form, saying, “They’ll look for options for you.”

As of November 2022, about 59,786 women were serving and working in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Of these, 41,000 are military personnel, and 18,000 are civilian workers: doctors and other specialties. Approximately 5,000 women are currently taking part in combat operations, 10% of whom have joined the terrorist defense.

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