Maksym Sheremet, the developer of the first Ukrainian military drone for Berehynia reconnaissance operations and ex-constructor of Ukroboronprom, has set up his laboratory on the based in Ukrainian Women Veteran Movement not only to repair and modernize quadcopters but also to mass-produce own drones.
The engineer spoke about the technical characteristics of man-made drones, their cost, successfully satisfying needs of Ukrainian special forces, and what can upgrade thermal imaging module, by hanging it on any drone.
What are the recent needs of the Ukrainian army were you able to satisfy?
We received a request from the SSO – the guys from the war front – to upgrade two quadcopters. At 5 pm I was given an urgent task, and at 7 am the next day I finished work. We installed an outdoor thermal imaging module on the two Mavics, which consists of a Seek Thermal Compact Pro camera with the ability to detect a person in a field at a distance of 500 meters, in the bushes – 200 meters. A radio transmitter was also installed. In general, the components were: module, quadcopter, battery, charging station, and the monitor, on which you can see it all.
The cost of components was 25 thousand hryvnias. The price includes a video transmitter and radio system.
At our workshop there are four areas of work at the same time: the manufacture of quadcopters, their repairment, modernization of drones that come to us, and mass production from scratch of high-quality drones.
What are the characteristics of your series production drone from scratch?
Tactical radius – 8 kilometers, flight time – 40 minutes. This is about a thermal imaging seven-inch quadcopter with a paired daytime range camera.
We do not take technical characteristics from our heads, instead, we talk to the guys who are at the war front and make decisions on the technical task according to their requests. For example, they need a drone that will fly 8+ kilometers, can work in the dark, and stay in the air for more than 30-40 minutes. So this is what we are aiming to achieve.
The cost of our serial quadcopter is about 48 thousand hryvnias.
I have been involved in multi-copter activities for a long time. The development of mass-produced drones takes a lot of experience.
Can the Berehynia reconnaissance drone be considered the beginning of the current quadcopters that you create at your drone workshop?
The ones that we create now are much better.
How does your team work and what is your experience?
At our drone workshop, people work by the principle: one engineer – one drone. This allows me to systematize work and distribute tasks among my engineers. I can not afford to put the responsible task of mass production on inexperienced people. We also take into account that all our guys work voluntarily, and some of them may not come tomorrow. Therefore, we do not like the option when one person works on one branch and passes it on to others.
At the workshop I have only knowledgeable engineers who have experience in building drones. Many people offer help, but the first question I ask them is: do you know how to build drones? There is no right to make a mistake, so we have only experienced experts.
What are the needs now?
First of all, money and thermal imaging modules. GRAVITY MTV from Sumy made frames for quadcopters for us at the cost of components. The supplier brought 15 helicopters and set aside 15 thermal imaging modules for us. As of today, we have bought only 5 pieces worth 68,000 hryvnias with the money of the Ukrainian Women Veteran Movement. Two were used the next day, the other three are waiting for their turn. So in fact, the modules for those frames have already run out. Therefore, we really need thermal imaging modules of any production. We can upgrade your thermal imaging module by hanging it on any drone. That’s how we work with the Special Operations Forces: the guys give us modules that are worth a lot of money, and we hang them on quadcopters.
We also need finances for which we can buy modules and other components. If we find money in a week, there will be no problems with getting thermal imaging modules. This is the main critical need for our laboratory to work.
To date, all components have been purchased at the expense of people who donate money to us. I am very grateful to the men and women who don’t only send money, but also donate components for quadcopters and ready-made quadcopters. We need any components to work in the first direction of our workshop – building drones from what we already have.
You know, tasks are as diverse as possible. Sometimes we have a task – to make a separate reset system for the quadcopter. And it happens that we need to make a quadcopter to lift a load without a reset system, only for the thermal imaging module. Tasks are very varied and require different components. If you have any components that are related to avionics, we will be happy to receive them.
At the moment, we are only engaged in multi-copter activities, but soon we will also be engaged in avionics – assembling aircraft and mono foils.
Victory will be ours!
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