New Ukrainian Attack Drone Concept Has Russian UAVs, Tanks in its Sights

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Air Combat Evolution (ACE), a new Ukrainian company has released a promotional video of its conceptual drone called ACE-1, in which it is shown shooting what appears to be the Russian Orion drone and T90 tank.

ACE-1 is claimed to deliver a combination of high-speed and low visibility, along with Artificial Intelligence (AI), swarming solution and the capability to deliver a mix of missiles and guided bombs from its two internal weapon bays. It can also function as a loyal wingman- fly alongside a crewed fighter aircraft in combat.

A mock-up of the drone was released at the ‘Arms and Security 2021’ Exhibition which began today in Kiev, Ukraine.

The ACE team is headed by Oleksandr Los, former director general of Antonov, and Volodymyr Usov, former head of the State Space Agency of Ukraine. Partners in the project are Ukrainian firms- Motor Sich, FED JSC, Hydrobest, Yuzhmash and French engine manufacturer, SAFRAN.

The ACE-1 will be capable of carrying weapons weighing up to 1 ton in internal compartments. It will be powered by two engines, the AI-322F turbojet made buy Motor Sich and Ivchenko-Progress. It will have a thrust of 2,500 Kgf and a dry weight of 560 kgs.

The drone will have a length 8 meters, width of 11 meters and a maximum takeoff weight 7.5 tons. It will develop a maximum speed of  Mach 0.95.

According to the calculations of Ukrainian designers, the strike UAV will have a combat radius of 1500 km and a service ceiling of 13.5 km.

The drone will compete with the likes of the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel and the Russian S-70 “Hunter”.

The preliminary cost of one complete system comprising several aircraft (probably three) and a ground control station is $ 12-13 million, a press release during the Arms and Security-2021 exhibition said.

The ACE-1 looks to not only out-fly and out-gun the best drones in the world, but also undercut them on price by a fair margin.