Ukrainian government forces said on Sunday they had shot down a Russian drone that flew “too close” to its position in areas south-east of Svitlodarsk in the Donetsk region.
“On April 5, thanks to skills of one of the detachments, which hold the line in the direction towards Svitlodarsk, a drone Zastava Bird Eye 400 was downed. Russia has been producing such drones since 2012,” the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine message states.
The drone was passed to experts from specialized detachments to check the data storage device.
“This fact once again proves the direct participation of the Russian armed forces in the war in eastern Ukraine,” it said.
The BirdEye 400 is a miniature unmanned aerial vehicle designed and manufactured by the Malat Division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The UAV performs intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. Flying at an altitude of 1,000ft, the BirdEye 400 can provide its operators with real-time intelligence data on enemy combatants.
The Airforce-technology.com reported that Israel signed two contracts worth $53m with Russia in April 2009 for delivering 12 BirdEye 400 UAVs.
The first contract included two Bird Eye 400 systems (worth $4m), eight I View MK150 tactical UAVs ($37m). They were delivered to Russia in September 2010. Russia acquired 36 additional UAVs worth $100m by the end of 2010 under the second contract.