Ukraine's army has put in an order for drones from Quantum-Systems. The German government is funding the deal with the Bavarian start-up, whose investors include the likes of Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel, Andrey Gurkov reported for Deutsche Welle.
Photo Insert: The Vector reconnaissance drone has proven to be a true asset in the war in Ukraine.
The Vector reconnaissance drone has proven to be a true asset in the war in Ukraine. Kyiv ordered 33 of them early last August and has ordered another 105 since. But practical field tests predated that.
Last spring, Quantum-Systems CEO and co-founder Florian Seibel told the German media that a Ukrainian billionaire had approached him to buy drones for his country's army and that several other oligarchs followed his example.
Quantum-Systems CEO and co-founder Florian Seibel spent 16 years in the German army before starting his business. Vector drones were already in use in Ukraine at a time when many politicians in Germany still had serious doubts about the advisability of supplying weapons to Kyiv.
Drones, however, are not weapons as such, which explains the rapid export approval granted by the German Ministry of Economic Affairs at the time.
The electric vertical takeoff unmanned aerial vehicle (eVTOL UAV) in the shape of a propeller aircraft has a length of 1.63 meters (64 inches), a wingspan of 2.8 meters (110 inches), and is used for aerial reconnaissance.
It has a flight duration of 120 minutes and can transmit video footage and data from a distance of up to 30 kilometers (18.6 miles), which is the range of many artillery weapons.
The drones cost €180,000 ($195,600) each, which means the German government will be shelling out almost €20 million for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense's follow-up order.
When asked why the Vector is so expensive, Seibel told DW that it is actually in the lower price segment — and that Israeli and US military reconnaissance drones are significantly more expensive.
"There is simply a lot of military technology built in: special antennas, night vision devices, infrared cameras, tap-proof data links," he said, adding the software involves decades of development work, for instance concerning control and navigation.