A new weapon that could help defend its cities against missiles is headed to Ukraine, and it’s named after a famous raccoon.
For months, NAFO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) has been waging an information war against Russian propaganda on social media and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Ukrainian military.
These guys are a bunch of online dudes with a known nose for dog memes. Shiba Inu are easily identified by their profile pictures.
So when Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s United24 initiative asked if NAFO wanted to raise money for a naval drone and give it a name, they were quick to bite.
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The challenge to friends is part of United24’s quest to amass a fleet of 100 naval drones. Ukraine says it is struck the Russian Black Sea Fleet in October exclusively using unmanned vessels.
It took just a few weeks to raise the $250,000 (£205,000) needed for one such drone, which they called the Raccoon’s Revenge.
Why this name? It is a kind of long tail.
Like Russian forces He was preparing to retreat from the city of Kherson in the face of Ukrainian attacks Last month, strange footage emerged of animals, including a raccoon, being stolen from a local zoo.
Since then, the “Kherson raccoon” has become popular on Russian social media and is used as a mascot by Russian paratroopers.
Clearly, people believe the raccoon hasn’t forgotten its Ukrainian roots, and Raccoon’s Revenge beat the likes of HMS Bonquerer and Aqua Bonker 9000 in a recent poll of over 11,000 people.
Money collected by NAFO comrades helping Ukraine
“I was a fan of HMS Bonqueror myself, but Racoon’s Revenge was the community’s choice,” US Army veteran and current mate Pete told Sky News.
He added: “If a Russian warship is taken out by a NAFO-sponsored drone, it might be hard to top that in terms of humor in this war.
“And with the thousands of mortars and artillery shells we’re sponsoring and the dozens of vehicles and artillery mounts and the rest, it’s pretty high.”
Pete also helps out with a team of designers who create custom “man” avatars for people who donate to Ukraine.
He added: “I’d like to highlight the mates at the factory who were responsible for producing a variety of highly creative profile pictures for the donation.
“It wouldn’t be possible without them. They really are the glue that holds this together, and without them, Kama and I wouldn’t be able to keep up.”
NAFO has already raised large sums of money for the Ukrainian military – by some estimates a million dollars – and their tongue-in-cheek humor has become popular on the Internet.
Their slogans and friends appear everywhere, including the “Super Bonker 9,000” emblazoned on a 2S7 Pion self-propelled gun.
United24 said on Twitter: “You did it you great dogs!
“As of this morning, $255,546 has been raised for #NAFOdrone!
“Thank you for making this happen, every #nafofleet, every person for every donation. The raccoon’s revenge is non-negotiable, thank you every single one of you.”
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Why are maritime drones useful?
So what are naval drones like the Raccoon’s Revenge, and have they been used in warfare before?
Russia In October, an attack on the Black Sea Fleet near the Crimean port of Sevastopol involved 16 naval drones and damaged two ships, it said.
United24 claims three Russian ships have been damaged, including the flagship Admiral Makarov.
Funded through United24, the maritime drones are 5.5 meters long, have a range of up to 800 km (500 miles) and can carry a payload of up to 200 kg.
Missiles fired from Russian warships have been part of Moscow’s destruction of Ukraine’s power grids, plunging cities into darkness – so Ukraine hopes naval drones can disable the ships.
Speaking to Sky News earlier, U.S. Army Lt. Col. and drone expert Paul Lushenko said naval drones ‘Just read another approach’ to target Russian assets.
“These days, even these fine boats have a lot of target acquisition systems.
“And so when you have so many opportunities, how do you prioritize goals?”