Ukraine has a new drone poised to enter Kyiv’s armory – a kamikaze unmanned ground vehicle (UGV).

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Minister for Digital Transformation posted video and images of the Ratel (Honey Badger) UGV which had passed acceptance trials on his X (formerly Twitter) feed on Tuesday, Oct. 24.

The machine which was developed through Ukraine’s military technology cluster, “Brave1” and was first revealed in an article on the Militarniy website in May and demonstrated on the Ukrainian 1+1 tv channel in September.

The brief the team worked on resulted from input by troops on the ground, who wanted an unmanned ground system capable of remotely delivering a sizeable warhead that was resistant to enemy EW interference.

Advertisement

In its initial research the team first examined “off the shelf” Chinese options and also investigated the Latvian “Robotnest” group who were working on a similar idea called the AGR8 Project. Having decided that neither fitted the bill the team decided to go its own way and design an equipment from scratch.

Working with support and input from Ukraine’s 120th Reconnaissance Battalion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) the equipment rapidly came together. Exact specifications of the final product are naturally kept close to the chest but the development team leader, Taras Ostapchuk, revealed some of the essentials.

Ukraine Rushes to Create AI-Enabled War Drones
Other Topics of Interest

Ukraine Rushes to Create AI-Enabled War Drones

Ukraine hopes a rollout of AI-enabled drones across the front line will help it overcome increasing signal jamming by the Russians as well as enable UAVs to work in larger groups.

The Ratel S is a first-person view (FPV), electric four-wheel drive vehicle capable of carrying a 40-kilogram payload at a speed of 24 km/h to a range of up to five kilometers with a duration of up to two hours. It is remotely controlled by an operator, guiding it through the use of goggles or monitor. It uses an aerial drone to monitor its progress which may also be fitted with a signal repeater to increase the range of the drone.

Ostapchuk said that the drone can quietly approach the enemy and can easily traverse obstacles up to 20-25 centimeters high and maneuver effectively on sandy terrain.

Advertisement

“Our Honey Badger can traverse any terrain that a jeep can," he emphasized, and said that soldiers who had used the system have responded extremely positively to it.

“The guys want to have as many of these unmanned platforms as possible,” the military engineer added.

The Ratel can be loaded with an anti-tank landmine or other munition and is equipped with a remote detonation system, allowing it to serve as a mobile warhead carrier. The video in Fedorov’s post shows the UGV carrying an explosive being driven close to a white van before being detonated and photos of the Ratel carrying a TM-62 anti-tank mine and two 82 mm dummy mortar bombs.

Ratel carrying mortar bombs or anti-tank mine

Photo: Brave1 / “X”

Advertisement

Development of the Ratel S was under the auspices of the Brave1 cluster which aims to identify and develop innovative dedicated to advancing military technologies in Ukraine. Their activities are sponsored by the Ukrainian ministries of Digital Transformation, Defense, Strategic Industries, Economy as well as the General Staff and the National Security and Defense Council.

Fedorov said that “Brave1 serves as a unified platform for collaboration between defense-tech companies, the state, the military, investors, volunteer funds, the media, and all those contributing to advancing victory through technology.”

He believes that with the introduction of Ratel S, the AFU will have an advanced and versatile ability to remotely engage enemy targets which will enhance their operational efficiency, personal safety and the nation’s security.

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter