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Ukrainian crowdfunding campaign raises $7.8 million for sea drone fleet in record 36 hours

by Elsa Court February 23, 2024 11:13 PM 2 min read
An illustrative photo of a Ukrainian "Sea Baby" maritime drone. (United24)
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A crowdfunding campaign to raise money to produce maritime drones has raised enough money for 35 naval drones, worth in total Hr. 297,500,000 (over $7.77 million), in a record 36 hours, Ukrainian fundraising platform United24 announced on Feb. 23.

The funds will cover the cost of producing 35 "Sea Baby" drones, "thanks to which the Security Service of Ukraine hit the Crimean Bridge, as well as nine Russian ships," United24 said.

The fundraising campaign was carried out in collaboration with Ukrainian bank Monobank, the Security Service of Ukraine, social activist Serhii Sternenko, and blogger Ihor Lachenkov.

"Thank you all, you are the best," Lachenkov posted on his Telegram channel, which has over 1.4 million subscribers.

"So that you understand the collection speed, it was one boat per hour."

One "Sea Baby" drone costs Hr. 8.5 million ($222,000), United24 said. The body of the drone is made of a material that is invisible to radars, and the drone is capable of carrying up to 850 kilograms of explosives.

The drone can reach speeds of up to 90 kilometers per hour (56 miles per hour), and have a range of up to 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).

Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said in August 2023 that the drones had proven "very effective" and that Russia faces "serious problems."

Though he did not say how many naval drones Ukraine deploys or has at its disposal, Budanov revealed that Ukraine is now able to mass produce such drones.

Ukraine is not making "one or two in garages," he said. "Mass production is underway."

In the months since Budanov spoke about the drones, "Sea Baby" drones were in multiple attacks on Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

Minister: Crowdfunded sea drone fleet strikes 8 Russian targets in first year of operation
A fleet of Ukrainian naval drones, launched as a result of an international crowdfunding campaign, has struck eight key Russian targets in the first year of its operation, Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said on Facebook on Nov. 11.
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