Article by: Florian Rötzer
The plan of the Bundeswehr, the unified armed forces of Germany, to supply Ukraine with drones has a setback: the winter in Ukraine is too cold for the LUNA unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that were planned to be delivered.
The German defense minister had previiously offered to send German soldiers with drones to participate in the OSCE mission to monitor the ceasefire at the Russian-Ukrainian border. Frenchs soldier are to participate in that mission as well, Germany is likely to send 200 soldiers, of which 150 are supposed to operate the drones.
The plan was to use LUNA type drones which are equipped with color and infrared cameras. The 40 kg heavy drones used by the Bundeswehr since 2000 have a operational range of up to 60 miles and an operating time of 6-8 hours.
However, it turned out that this Bundeswehr gear would not be fully operational in Ukraine’s conditions. As it turns out, the Bundeswehr drones might not be suitable for the harsh winter in Ukraine.
As the Bild newspaper learned from the Bundeswehr, “at minus 19 degrees the UAV’s technology is at risk of getting frozen and therefore the drones must be grounded.” The temperature at the usual operational ceiling of the drones is even much colder than that.
CDU-defense expert Henning Otte told Bild newspaper that he is demanding to find a “quick solution” for the mission. It is not yet clear if the OSCE is going to accept the offer of the German Ministry of Defence. It should be clarified if armed soldiers could participate in the monitoring mission, as proposed by the German side. The OSCE Secretary General, Lamberto Zannier, told Reuters yesterday that only a mandate for a civilian mission was given: “So we need to demilitarize either the drones to make them compatible with the mandate – or we need to come to a new decision in Vienna, which would authorize me to add a military component to the mission “