Ukraine’s drone startups Buntar Aerospace leveraging wartime expertise for peacetime business


Juggling two jobs is demanding, especially when one involves working in a warzone. However, for Ivan Kaunov, CEO and co-founder of Buntar Aerospace, these roles complement each other seamlessly.

Kaunov, who develops drones for long-range flights at Buntar Aerospace, also serves in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, flying drones on combat missions.

“We use them on the battlefield, gaining firsthand insight into what works, what doesn’t, and how they need to adapt to modern warfare,” the 33-year-old shares from a classified military facility during a video call with TNW. “Our feedback loop is incredibly fast.”

This feedback loop directly informs Kaunov’s business endeavors. Buntar has already field-tested its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and is now gearing up to scale production for military reconnaissance.

Ukraine has become a testing ground for drones, with various startups emerging during the conflict. These drones have played crucial roles, from targeting enemy positions to conducting surveillance and even engaging in drone-on-drone combat.

One such startup is Celebra, which develops drones for surveillance and striking targets. The team behind Celebra has firsthand military experience, having fought in battles and operated drones during critical moments of conflict.

The success of Ukraine’s drone units in destroying enemy assets has sparked optimism about the country’s potential to become a global leader in UAV technology. While Ukraine may lack the resources of larger nations like the US, its unique wartime experience has cultivated expertise that is highly valuable.

The applications of drones extend beyond military use, with many drones serving dual purposes in both military and civilian settings. As the conflict evolves, so too do the capabilities of drones, presenting new opportunities for innovation and commercialization.

However, challenges remain, including the need for investment and support from both governments and private investors. Despite these obstacles, Ukraine’s drone startups are poised to play a significant role in shaping the future of UAV technology, both in conflict zones and beyond.