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HomeGeneralUkraine Reveals Plans to Produce More Than a Million Drones This Year

Ukraine Reveals Plans to Produce More Than a Million Drones This Year

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Source: FPV drone/heroesukraine.org

In a bid to bolster its military capabilities, Ukraine is set to ramp up production of long-range drones capable of deep strikes into Russia in 2024, announced Ukraine’s digital minister, Mykhailo Fedorov. The revelation comes amidst heightened tensions between the two nations, with Ukraine actively seeking innovative ways to combat well-entrenched Russian forces.

Fedorov shed light on Ukraine’s burgeoning drone industry during an interview in Kyiv, highlighting significant advancements made in recent years. Notably, he emphasized the emergence of long-range kamikaze drones with ranges from 300 to 1,000 kilometers, a category that did not exist just two years ago.

The minister attributed this progress to Ukraine’s concerted efforts to foster private military startups and stimulate innovation in the face of protracted conflict. The recent spate of drone attacks targeting Russian oil facilities underscores Ukraine’s commitment to leveraging uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) as a strategic asset in its military operations.

Fedorov credited the government’s initiatives to deregulate the drone market and increase funding, with $2.5 million in grants to military tech startups through the BRAVE1 initiative last year. This funding is set to experience a tenfold increase in 2024, reflecting Ukraine’s commitment to bolstering its defense capabilities.

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Unlike Russia, where drone production is primarily state-dominated, most manufacturers in Ukraine operate in the private sector. Fedorov revealed that out of the ten companies capable of producing drones with ranges extending to Moscow and St Petersburg, only one is state-owned. This shift towards privatization reflects Ukraine’s endeavor to foster innovation and agility in its defense industry.

Moreover, Ukraine has witnessed a substantial surge in drone production, with deliveries increasing over 120 times in 2023 alone. This exponential growth underscores Ukraine’s resolve to narrow the gap with Russia’s military capabilities and achieve a certain level of parity in long-range drones.

Fedorov underscored the importance of anti-bureaucratic measures and technological innovation in Ukraine’s defense strategy, emphasizing the pivotal role of technology in safeguarding the nation’s security. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has set ambitious targets for producing First Person View (FPV) drones in 2024, aiming to equip frontline troops with cost-effective and weaponized UAVs.

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Despite the strides made in drone production, Ukraine remains reliant on foreign components, including those sourced from China, a perceived ally of Russia. Fedorov outlined efforts to localize production and reduce dependence on foreign suppliers, signaling a shift towards greater self-sufficiency in the defense industry.

However, the rapid expansion of drone production has posed logistical challenges, necessitating swift adaptations to prevent delivery delays. Also, the state monopoly on drone ammunition has impeded progress in the private sector.

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Fedorov revealed recent legislative reforms to dismantle monopolies and streamline procurement processes, signaling Ukraine’s commitment to fostering a dynamic and competitive defense industry landscape.

Looking ahead, Ukraine plans to expand its military training programs and modernize training centers to meet evolving security needs. Fedorov emphasized the government’s investment in training drone operators and its plans to scale up military training initiatives, underscoring Ukraine’s proactive approach to fortifying its defense capabilities amidst ongoing geopolitical tensions.

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