The Australian company Sypaq has reported a surge in interest within the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region in its "cardboard" unmanned aerial systems (UASs) after their use in Ukraine during combat.
The lightweight and small battlefield logistics aircraft is called the Corvo Precision Payload Delivery System (PPDS).
According to Ross Osborne, chief engineer at Sypaq, the company managed to complete one of its most ambitious tasks — delivering a large number of PPDS drones directly to the combat area.
Supplies to Ukraine started in February–March 2023. For now, the company cannot disclose the number of UASs supplied to Ukraine for security reasons.
According to Amanda Holt, CEO of Sypaq, this created a surge of interest in the aircraft from both military and civilian entities.
"Operators are using the UAS for many types of novel applications beyond its original design," the CEO said.
Holt added that the company could not yet disclose which countries in the APAC region have expressed interest in these "cardboard" drones.
Such drones can lift up to 3 kg or 5 kg. The weight depends on the model. The plane is able to carry the load for 1–3 hours and 40–120 km, depending on the weight.
The main purpose of these UAS is to deliver ammunition, food, and medicines directly to the frontline. However, they can also be used for reconnaissance and dropping explosive devices.
"The sturdy cardboard was soaked in wax to prevent the fuselage from collapsing and the drones from falling further in wet weather conditions," Ross Osborne emphasized.
Drones are supplied in the form of blanks made from flat sheets of cardboard, from which an aircraft can be easily assembled.
"Low profile is a key feature, we can fold them onto a pallet. We also developed modular avionics and sets of power plants, which we hope can be reused," said Ross Osborne.
The manufacturer said that the Ukrainian army has already received more than 60 supplies from the company. Around 100 Australian cardboard drones are shipped to Ukraine each month.
Sypaq said that the aircraft is used for various purposes, such as the deployment of a sensor payload and the ability to deliver small cargo. It acts as an extended communications airborne relay and serves as a decoy.