As Modern Shipper’s Brian Straight wrote at the beginning of March, soldiers win battles, but logistics wins wars. With the fighting in Ukraine making it increasingly difficult for planes, ships and trucks to move goods into and out of the region, humanitarian aid efforts have largely been stymied.
But could the same skies that are now constantly rattled by explosions and gunfire also be an avenue for salvation?
One U.S.-based organization thinks so. Revived Soldiers Ukraine (RSU), one of the top nonprofits providing aid to the Eastern European nation, ordered about 200 drones from Canadian drone services provider Draganfly on Tuesday in a bid to leverage the small aircraft for soldier and civilian relief efforts.
Watch: A freight broker’s perspective on the war in Ukraine
Draganfly, which received the order through its channel partner Coldchain Delivery Systems, will immediately provide 10 of its proprietary Medical Response and Search and Rescue Drones to RSU, as well as a donation of three drone systems.
Shares of the company’s stock (NASDAQ: DPRO) are up more than 80% on the news.
“Our drone solutions are equipped with advanced payload systems and cutting-edge sensor technology to ensure crews can effectively respond to active emergency, medical, battlefield and
disaster response situations,” Draganfly Chairman CEO Cameron Chell told Modern Shipper. “High-zoom RGB cameras as well as infrared imaging can be utilized to provide visual oversight during critical missions while our temperature-managed payload box helps ensure the timely delivery of temperature-sensitive medical supplies and life-saving equipment.”
Draganfly’s Medical Response Drones, which are manufactured in North America, come equipped with a special temperature-controlled payload box for medical supplies such as blood, pharmaceuticals, medicines, vaccines, water and wound care kits. The box is uniquely top-mounted for safer deliveries and is capable of carrying up to 35 pounds of payload.
Now RSU will add a fleet of the aircraft to its growing logistical network across the U.S. and Ukraine, which also includes the recent purchases of 10 ambulances and 11 cars to support injured soldiers in Ukraine. By deploying drones, the nonprofit will add to that network with better access to hot spots, where the need for aid is greatest.
“Draganfly’s team of experienced pilots will work with RSU’s operators virtually to ensure they can
effectively pilot the company’s Medical Response and Search and Rescue Drones in hostile
environments across Ukraine,” Chell added. “The organization plans to use our drones to access hotspots and provide humanitarian aid within major Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv and Kharkiv.”
RSU has also allocated the equivalent of $19 million toward supplies for Ukrainian civilians and hospitals, which unfortunately have not been immune to the violence.
“Brave Ukrainians continue to fight for freedom, democracy and the fundamental values and principles of Western civilization,” said RSU President Iryna Vashchuk Discipio in a press release. Discipio is a recipient of the prestigious Order of Princess Olga, which recognizes Ukrainian women for their achievements in state, production, scientific, education, cultural, charity and other activities.
“As fighting continues to break out across the country, our volunteers and staff on the ground in Ukraine need a way to safely and quickly deliver essentials to Ukrainians in need,” Discipio told Modern Shipper separately. “Utilizing Draganfly’s drones and the company’s temperature managed payload box, we will be able to adequately ramp up our humanitarian aid response across the country.”
Discipio is joined by approximately 300 other RSU volunteers across Ukraine and the U.S., with about 10 full-time members on the ground in Ukraine. The organization has already formed some supportive ties with medical facilities at U.S. schools including Yale, Harvard and Miami University, as well as with businesses like Metro Health and Brooks Rehabilitation Center.
To support Revived Soldiers Ukraine’s efforts in the region, donate here.