Despite sanctions, new Russian drones use modern American microchips, says Volodymyr Yatsenko

Despite sanctions, new Russian drones use modern American microchips, says Volodymyr Yatsenko The same chip is used in Iranian Shahed. It also employed in targeting systems of Russian missiles, states Volodymyr Yatsenko, the co-founder of Monobank and the manufacturer of Ukrainian Dovbush T10 drones
Photo: press service of Vladimir Yatsenko

The new modification of the Russian Orlan unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which was recently shot down by the Ukrainian military, uses the most modern ICs of the American company AMD Xilinx, which is a dual-use product and is subject to sanctions. The co-founder of Monobank and the manufacturer of Ukrainian Dovbush T10 drones, Volodymyr Yatsenko states it on the air of the Unified National Tele marathon that is broadcasting by 1+1 among others.

"The effectiveness of sanctions depends on what efforts are made so that they are not violated. Two weeks ago, we disassembled the downed Russian drone Orlan, and in the radio communication module, we found the most modern and very powerful chip. The very same chip is in the Iranian Shahid, and it is also used in the guidance systems of Russian missiles. Unfortunately, this is a microchip of the American company AMD XILINX, it costs more than two thousand dollars and is a dual-use product, i.e. it is not sold without certain licenses. Therefore, in my opinion, in addition to sanctions, a lot of work should be done to track and interrupt illegal ways of supplying military technology to prohibited countries," Yatsenko noted.

He added that Chinese engines could be used on UAVs, but it is impossible to create a modern drone without the latest technologies.

"An inspection from the United States has arrived in Ukraine to monitor the use of military assistance, and I hope that they will see this nonsense: while we spend American missiles to shoot down enemy UAVs, i.e. the funds of the American people, these drones fly on American chips," said the businessman.

According to him, Ukrainian drone manufacturers should improve their technologies in order to be two steps ahead of the enemy.

"Due to the fact that Russian drones are improving their characteristics, we must also improve our technologies to be two steps ahead. I can say that today we have created really up-to-date technologies in a certain segment, namely in the segment of plastics. Today we work with materials that are stronger than metals and are used in the aviation industry, including such global giants as Boeing and Airbus. This makes it possible to surpass the level of Russian and Iranian UAVs. But they don't stand still either. The modern Orlan is a fairly high-quality drone, that is why we must move faster in new technologies and new components", Volodymyr Yatsenko underlined.


In 2022, a team of Ukrainian engineers from Dnipro led by the co-founder of Monobank started production of UAVs for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. They are fully made in Ukraine and are much cheaper than its Western counterparts while matching its’ characteristics. They are universal UAV that within an hour could be modified into an attack or reconnaissance drone, or other type depending on an actual combat mission.

In his interview for Focus, Yatsenko noted that by using the newest technologies in UAV production Ukraine would be able to surpass the aggressor in quantity and quality of military technologies.

In July 2022, he announced that he would not stop until 345 UAVs are produced – one for every Ukrainian child killed by Russian missiles, as for that day.

Orlan-10 is the UAV that Russian forces use. The fact that its’ producer buys foreign components through intermediaries in the USA, China and Russia, was also reported by Important Stories investigative project, Reuters and Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

According to RUSI, Orlan is equipped with components manufactured by American Altera and Xilinx, Texas Instruments, Microchip Technology, Analog Devices, Linear Technology, European STMicroelectronics and NXP Semiconductors, Japanese Renesas Electronics and Saito Seisakusho.