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Ukraine's Defense Ministry has ordered 55 HAWK drones from a company partly owned by the wife of former MP Boryslav Rozenblat, despite the drones having clear defects, investigative outlet Bihus.info reported on Sept. 4.
Moreover, the ministry has already paid Hr 650 million ($17.6 million) in advance for the drones, as part of a Hr 807 million ($22 million) deal, but only received one drone from the company by the deadline of Aug. 15.
A month before the deadline, the company organized a training exercise to show soldiers how to operate the drones.
While the firm is officially owned by his wife, the former MP has publicly said that the project was his idea.
Three out of four test flights failed. Video footage shows the drones malfunctioning and unable to land.
Rozenblat, who was in attendance at the exercise, said that the issues were due to the drone overheating and individual "peculiarities" relating to one model. He assured the soldiers that the problems would be fixed before the drones were handed over to the military.
When the company brought four out of the 55 drones to hand over the day before the deadline, three were rejected by the military for similar issues seen during the exercises.
Rozenblat said that 11 more drones were delivered to the military over the next few weeks, but Bihus.info reported that it is unclear how many were actually accepted.
Each HAWK drone, along with its ground control station and control boards, has an estimated cost of Hr 14.5 million ($392,000).