The US Air Force developed the new Phoenix Ghost drone system to meet Ukrainian needs, according to a Pentagon spokesperson.
The new US aid package for Ukraine includes more than 121 Phoenix Ghost systems, the Pentagon said.
“This was rapidly developed by the Air Force in response specifically to Ukrainian requirements," said Pentagon press secretary John Kirby in off-camera remarks to reporters.
“It provides similar capabilities to the Switchblade series of unmanned systems — similar capabilities, but not exact,” Kirby said. “There’s differences in the scope of capability for the Phoenix Ghost.”
But Kirby would not say what the differences in capabilities are between the Switchblade and Phoenix Ghost systems.
Kirby also said the new system will require “some minimal training for knowledgeable UAS operators,” and that the US Defense Department is “working through” those requirements with the Ukrainian military.
Additionally, concerning the howitzers in the new aid package that will be used to outfit five additional Ukrainian battalions, Kirby said they are being provided per Ukrainian needs for fighting in the Donbas region that the department expects to continue “over days and weeks ahead.”