The US will send its newest Phoenix Ghost combat drones to Ukraine, the Pentagon announced on Thursday. NATO countries have been increasingly arming Kiev after Russia launched a military offensive against the country in late February.
The drone was “rapidly developed by the Air Force in response specifically to Ukrainian requirements,” US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters at a regular press briefing. “In discussions with the Ukrainians about their requirements, we believed that this particular system would very nicely suit their needs, particularly in eastern Ukraine.”
Kirby said the Phoenix Ghost is somewhat like the Switchblade kamikaze drones that Washington had already promised to Kiev. The drone is “designed for tactical operations,” and can be used for surveillance, but “its principal focus is attack,” the spokesman said.
“We see the benefit right now – in the moment – for Ukraine to use it. And so we’re going to provide some of them.”
AEVEX Aerospace, the California-based company behind the project, refused to comment on Kirby’s statement to the media.