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UK UAV maker reveals its craft in use by Ukrainian armed forces since 2023

A Windracers ULTRA UAV pictured in February 2024. (Windracers Group)

Ukraine is operating the UK-developed Windracers Uncrewed Low-cost Transport (ULTRA) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Janes has learnt.

ULTRA is a tactical UAV designed to support resupply. Speaking to Janes on 4 April, Simon Muderack, the CEO of Windracers and Distributed Avionics, revealed that its UAV has been conducting intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and supporting resupply for the Armed Forces of Ukraine since 2023.

Although Muderack did not specify exact dates or the number of aircraft provided, Janes understands the UK Ministry of Defence procured the aircraft on behalf of the Ukrainian armed forces, supplying it as aid. A defence source told Janes the procurement and supply of ULTRA is part of the UK's GBP325 million (USD413 million) UAV support programme to Ukraine.

According to Janes data, ULTRA is a tactical UAV with a maximum take-off weight of 450 kg, featuring an internal cargo bay that supports a payload capacity of up to 100 kg. The bay can also fit a sensor package for ISR roles, the company said. The system has a nominal endurance of over 12 hours and can automatically take-off and land within 150 m in wet and dry conditions.

Muderack highlighted the autonomous capabilities of the system, saying it enables the UAV to conduct missions at night. Windracers says its autopilot and flight control technology from group company Distributed Avionics is intended to provide connection to the UAV from any location, using beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and with no single flight computer controlling the aircraft.

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