Meet The Piranha: Ukraine’s High-Tech Answer to Drone Threats

Wes O'Donnell
5 min readDec 28, 2023
Courtesy Piranha Tech

By now, we are all well aware of the current state of Ukraine’s frozen conflict. Despite liberating 74,443 square kilometers (28,743 square miles) of land from Russian occupation, the orcs still control approximately 18% of Ukraine’s sovereign territory.

What’s more, armored vehicles have been rendered nearly obsolete by mines and drones.

In fact, the lack of armored vehicles and the introduction of tens of thousands of drones has turned the relatively flat terrain of Eastern Ukraine into what is, effectively, an infantryman’s nightmare.

There are now so many quadcopters and FPV drones flying around Ukraine, that it’s as if the sky is filled with thousands of angry, plastic hornets.

The situation is dire.

I shared this chart recently, but it’s worth looking at again — this shows how many Ukrainian armored vehicles have been destroyed by cheap Russian FPV drones.

On the far left side of the chart, you can see what’s been destroyed or damaged.

On the far right of the chart, you can see what caused the destruction.

On this single day (December 10), at least 10 large Ukrainian armored vehicles were destroyed or immobilized by drones that probably maxed out in price at around $1,500.

When I read about increasing drone usage in 2022, first innovated by Ukraine, and then by Russia as they tried to catch up, I realized that war had completely evolved beyond my experience in America’s desert wars.

When Ukraine first experienced some early success using consumer drones against Russia, I decided to meet with other analysts from my former surveillance life, as well as some Air Force and Army chums I served with, to brainstorm ways that Russia might try to counter Ukraine’s drone threat.

First, we predicted that Russia would deploy an increasing number of static electronic warfare devices that cluttered a particular region’s airwaves. But these immobile, static devices were susceptible to Ukrainian strikes. So…

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Wes O'Donnell

Army & Air Force Veteran | Global Security guy at War is Boring, GEN, OneZero | Intel Forecaster | Law Student | TEDx Speaker | Pro-Democracy | Pro-Human Rights