A Chinese-made drone, retrofitted and weaponized, downed in eastern Ukraine
Ukrainian soldiers claim that they shot down an armed Chinese-made drone on their territory with automatic weapons over the weekend, writes CNN.Source: Nova S
It is the Mugin-5, a commercial drone made by a Chinese manufacturer based in the port city of Xiamen, on the east coast of China, the Nova S portal reports.
Some tech bloggers say they are known as "Alibaba drones" because they have been available for sale for up to $15,000 on Chinese marketplace websites.
Mugin Limited confirmed to CNN that it was their aircraft, calling it an "unfortunate incident".
It is the latest example of the use of a civilian drone that has been retrofitted and armed, a sign of rapidly changing patterns of warfare.
Mugin Limited confirmed to CNN that it was their airframe, calling the incident “deeply unfortunate.”
“Along the frontlines, basically all the time we’re conducting aerial reconnaissance,” Maksim, a 35-year-old territorial defense fighter, told CNN.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) told CNN that their agents based in Russian-controlled territory alerted them that a drone had been launched from there and headed for a Ukrainian target. The SBU then raised the alarm with military units based in eastern Ukraine, near the city of Slavyansk.
At around 2 o'clock in the morning, on Saturday, fighters of the 111th brigade of the Territorial Defense of Ukraine heard a drone and even saw the light on the aircraft flashing.
“From the sound, from the signal light, the troops fired a lot at it and knocked down the UAV,” Maksim said.
Maksim said the UAV was flying at very low altitude – close enough to bring it down with hand-held weapons.
In January, officials in the Russian-controlled Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine said they had shot down a Mugin-5 launched by Ukrainian forces.
Ukrainian officials have not commented on this specific incident, but experts said there was evidence that both sides in the conflict were using the technology.
As weapons are developed in real time on the battlefields of Ukraine, the civilian companies behind the technology are now scrambling to find ways to prevent their products from entering the military supply chain.
“We do not condone the usage. We are trying our best to stop it,” a spokesperson for Mugin Limited told CNN..
In a previous statement posted on the company’s website on March 2, Mugin Limited said they “condemn” the use of their products during warfare, and said they ceased selling products to Russia or Ukraine at the start of the war.
⚡️BREAKING: A Chinese-made drone, retrofitted and weaponized, was shot down in eastern Ukraine. - CNN— The Enforcer (@ItsTheEnforcer) March 16, 2023
These drones can be purchased on Alibaba and delivered in just a few weeks. https://t.co/La63VGCNjc pic.twitter.com/qh1VsDewKc