This is 'The Punisher', the small Ukrainian drone that is causing Russia a big headache
The war between Russia and Ukraine continues to throw up stories that go beyond the traditional coverage of a war conflict. The confrontation has had a strong impact on cybersecurity, as well as on other areas of citizen participation such as social networks and Wikipedia. However, if we stop at what concerns the combat between the two countries, the success that a small drone would have given the Ukrainian army so far has gained special relevance . We are talking about The Punisher.
But this name seems not to be a mere reference to the Marvel antihero. According to Business Insider, the drone would have earned its reputation as a “punisher”. It is that several of these devices have already been used in about 60 successful missions since the most recent Russo-Ukrainian conflict broke out, flying behind enemy lines and destroying Russia's supply lines.
One of its first aspects to highlight is that The Punisher is small and agile, and can move for considerable distances without being detected by radar. Publicly available technical information is not extremely detailed, and it makes sense. After all, the war in Ukraine is in full swing and no one wants to spoil the surprise factor of its implementation.
What is known about this drone is that it has a wingspan of just 2.2 meters . In addition, according to the technical data sheet available on the manufacturer's website, it has an attack range of 45 kilometers and can transport more than two kilos of explosives at a cruising speed of 20 meters per second.
The Punisher 'shows off' in the Ukraine war
Image: UA Dynamics Its agility has proven to be key to its use in the Ukrainian war. Although its specific autonomy is not mentioned, it is indicated that it can fly “several hours” at an altitude of 1,300 feet (almost 400 meters). In addition, its developers claim that it has a very high precision to hit its target -around 4 meters-, and that it only needs seven minutes to be ready for a new mission. The latter favors its reuse for multiple missions in the same day.
According to Interesting Engineering, the drone has been used since the Ukraine war began to destroy the Russian military's supply of fuel, ammunition, anti-aircraft weapons and electronic equipment. It is also indicated that its operation is highly automated, which allows it to be configured quickly with only the coordinates of its target.
But another interesting aspect of The Punisher is that he doesn't fly alone. The device is accompanied by an even smaller drone, named Spectre, which is responsible for recognizing the targets before the attack. And once the desired location is reached, the autonomous device can drop the payload of explosives at a single site, or hit three different targets.
A drone devised by Ukrainian veterans
The Punisher is a development of UA Dynamics. It is a company founded by former soldiers of the Ukrainian army, who participated in the war with Russia for the annexation of Crimea in 2014. This drone is listed on its website as the only product in its catalog; and although —as we said before— the details about it are scarce, it is assured that it has “the lowest mission cost in the world”.
“This is the cheapest and easiest way to deliver a punch from a long distance, without putting civilian lives at risk,” said Eugene Bulatsev, one of the company's engineers, in a recent interview.
It is true that the use of drones in armed conflicts is not new. However, what The Punisher seems to be proposing in the Ukraine war is an economical and accurate way to cause significant damage to the enemy. That a small, undetectable, reusable device could strike continuously behind Russian lines would make that clear. And it would also make it clear that its purpose would not be to end the war in Ukraine by itself, but to produce considerable wear and tear on Russian logistics.