UK develops 3D-printed 'suicide drone' to aid Ukraine against Russia

The Kamikaze drone can deliver a payload to the target before detonating.
Baba Tamim
Stock photo: Digitally generated Image of Iranian Kamikaze drone.
Stock photo: Digitally generated Image of Iranian Kamikaze drone.


The United Kingdom (U.K.) has reportedly developed and tested a number of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) undercover to support Ukraine.

Among the UAVs is a 3D-printed delta-wing "suicide" drone produced as part of the rapid development program to deter Russian aggression in Ukraine.

"UK repeatedly supplied 'drones' to Ukraine. We do not, and we might not know for a while, just what is included," Gabriele Molinelli, an Italy-based journalist, Tweeted on Thursday. 

"QinetiQ, which helped make the crash program of tests at Boscombe Down possible, mentions even a 'unique 3D printed delta wing 'suicide' drone.'"

QinetiQ is a defense technology corporation headquartered in the U.K.

The drone, designed to be disposable, is capable of carrying a payload to a target before detonating.

UK's KINDRED program

The 3D-printed drone is part of a larger U.K. government initiative called KINDRED that examines what kinds of weaponry and technology Ukraine might possibly put into service in the next four months.

The drone program was managed on an even shorter schedule, with the QinetiQ-led team being allowed just three weeks to show senior U.K. Ministry of Defense officials a variety of new drones.

"The UK has been experimenting for a while with 3D printing drones," Molinelli wrote in the thread of Tweets.

"Back in 2015, the Southampton University Laser-Sintered Aircraft (SULSA) became the world's first 3-D printed UAV to fly from a ship, when it was catapulted off the River-class vessel HMS Mersey."

QinetiQ recently declared its engagement and said it had passed all of the tests. However, the statement has been deleted by the firm involved in the program.

The program's goal was to "provide recommendations for uncrewed aircraft systems that could be deployed readily by the Ukrainian military," said The Drive's report, which first broke the news. 

3D technology for fabrication

According to reports, the development program looked into a variety of capabilities, including drones for monitoring. 

The drones were created at the MOD Boscombe Down test facility owned by QinetiQ in southwest England. The location offered an airport "sandbox window" test setting that was both secure and productive.

Although the development initiative was classified, the corporation recently disclosed some information about it, noted The Drive.

Given that this 3D technology enables the quick fabrication of intricate shapes and components, it may be utilized more frequently in the construction of unmanned aircraft systems.

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