23-YEAR-OLD Blake Resnick was inspired to found his drone manufacturing company – Brinc Drones – after the 2017 mass shooting in his hometown of Las Vegas killed 58 people and injured hundreds more.

“It just got me thinking broadly about ways technology could help first responders in active shooter events, which unfortunately in the US is still quite relevant,” he told me.

Resnick cold-called the Las Vegas SWAT team to discuss what happened and they agreed to sit down for a coffee with him.

“I walked away from that meeting thinking that if they just had a tool to get eyes and ears in places that would be dangerous to send a person, it would save lives.”

READ MORE: War in Ukraine: Zelenskyy says at least 500 children killed

6 years later and Resnick’s company – now worth around £80 million – is doing just that in Ukraine, with 60 of his drones being used on the frontlines of the war as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy launches his much antipated spring offensive. 

The widespread use of drones has been a defining feature of the war in Ukraine. 

They were even used in an attack on the Kremlin in early May, according to Russia who accused Ukraine of trying to assassinate Vladimir Putin.

“This war is a war of drones, they are the super weapon here,” Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs, told Newsweek in February.

Resnick agrees. “This conflict is unprecedented in the scale of the use of drones that we're seeing in Ukraine.

“Really, they are utilizing these systems to a greater degree than any military force in all of human history.”

Ukraine's main military drone is the Turkish Bayraktar TB2. Used in the attack which sank the Moska Russian warship in the Black Sea in April 2022, it’s basically a small plane armed with laser-guided bombs.

The TB2 is not dissimilar to the ones made famous by America’s so-called war on terror, they come at a hefty price – roughly £4 million.

But increasingly, the Ukrainians have been relying on buying thousands of cheaper, even commercial drones at £300-or-so a pop and overwhelming Russian defences.

Ukrainian forces use them for traditional reconnaissance and directing artillery fire, but they have also modified them to conduct direct attacks on Russian infantry.

Sometimes, they are equipped with grenades which are then dropped on unsuspecting tanks or soldiers. Often, they are sufficiently cheap that they are made for one use only – so-called kamikaze or suicide drones.

But Bresnick’s drones aren’t offensive. They were always designed to save lives, not take them – which is why they are also used by fire and emergency services around the world.

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In Ukraine, they are mostly used by the country's emergency services – particularly in search-and-rescue missions in decimated apartment blocks hit by missiles, but also occasionally to track Russian forces.

Resnick said: “Our drones are a little different. They can fly outside, but they’re designed primarily to fly indoors. It’s also the first drone in the world that has a glass breaking capability as well as a two-way audio system. It’s like a flying cell phone.

“For example, if a building is hit by a missile, it can fly up to the 12th story, break out a window, fly inside and look for survivors. Otherwise it might have been impossible to get first responders into that location.

“Or if Ukrainians are worried about Russian troops in a specific building, they can send our drone up first in an urban combat situation to look around inside.”

Although it wasn’t the initial goal, Ukraine has ended up somewhat of a testing ground for Brinc Drones’s tech.

“There’s been a lot of back and forth, a lot of feedback and asking for additional features.

“A lot of those made it into our new drone – the Lemur 2 – including easier piloting, less training requirements, radio improvements and GPS jamming.”

Bresnick is planning to make another trip to Ukraine as the country mounts its much anticipated spring offensive.

We're just really excited to hear the feedback,” he said. “And hopefully hear a lot more success stories from the field.”