Australia to offer 300 DefendTex D40 kamikaze drones to Ukrainian army

According to Maksim Panasovskyi in, the Ukrainian Armed Forces will soon receive a new type of kamikaze drone (the DefendTex 40) from Australia, in addition to Warmate, Switchblade 300 and Phoenix Ghost.
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DefendTex D40 kamikaze drone (Picture source: Crown copyright)

Australia will soon hand over 300 DefendTex D40 kamikaze drones to Ukraine, Maksim Panasovskyi writes. Test units have already been delivered to Poland, where they will be tested. After the tests, Australia will send the entire batch of drones to Ukraine.

As Joseph Trevithick wrote in The Drive, the Drone40, which DefendTex unveiled publicly in 2019, was among various new systems that British Army troops from the Light Dragoons and Royal Anglian Regiment were seen training with during a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) in October 2020. The Drone40 can be fired from launchers designed to fire standard 40mm low-velocity grenades. Its overall length is variable depending on the type of payload installed, but DefendTex says the length of the core body is close to five inches. As such, a launcher designed to fire over-sized 40mm cartridges, such as variants of the Heckler & Koch AG36 under-barrel grenade launcher, which are in service with U.K. and U.S. forces, among others, is necessary to employ them. Some older launchers, most notably the very popular American-made M203, can only accommodate relatively short 40mm rounds.

Combined with a camera-equipped type, the Drone40s could act as loitering munitions, hovering over a certain area, waiting for targets to emerge, and then being directed to engage them when they do. The feed from Drone40s equipped with the cameras is transmitted back to the operator via a line-of-sight link and is on a hand-held tablet-like device. This is also how the drone's movements are controlled after launch, via a GPS-enabled navigation system.

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A British Army soldier holds an L85 assault rifle equipped with a variant of the Heckler & Koch AG36 40mm under-barrel grenade launcher that can launch the DefendTex D40 kamikaze drone (Picture source: Crown copyright)