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"We can do more, but we lack funding": Kamyshin outlines priorities for defense production in Ukraine

The use of drones can change the course of the war

Ukraine is actively acting as a leader in the field of drone technology, and domestic production is crucial. However, to increase drone production and win the war, our country needs financial support from Western partners.

This statement was made by Minister of Strategic Industries Oleksandr Kamyshin. He said this in an interview with the Independent.

According to the minister, the introduction of innovative technologies in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles and the growth of Ukrainian defense production are key to winning the war. He called on Western allies to provide maximum support to Kyiv, especially as the Ukrainian Armed Forces struggle to hold the front line at the beginning of the third year of the Russian invasion.

Kamyshin warned that as a fierce artillery war unfolds, Ukraine needs a quantity of ammunition that "no country can supply," not even the United States. And so, as the large-scale war enters its third year, the government is developing more cost-effective means of holding the front while maximizing domestic production. In 2023, Ukraine's domestic defense production tripled, and this year it is planned to increase sixfold.

In particular, Ukraine is positioning itself as a global pioneer in unmanned technology, as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have suddenly become a cornerstone on Ukraine's battlefields. Drones are so important that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announced the creation of a separate unit of the Armed Forces called the Unmanned Systems Forces to deal with UAVs and their technologies.

"This year we can produce more than a million FPV drones, as well as thousands of drones capable of flying over 1000 km and reaching oil refineries in Russia. This is a game-changer. Our defense technologies are really cool, and together with the newly formed unmanned systems forces, they will produce results," the minister said.

Ukraine currently produces FPV, long-range, and maritime drones, each of which has shown amazing results in regaining control of the Black Sea and destroying Russian ships and other equipment.

Kyiv claims that its drones have damaged or destroyed more than $5.5 billion worth of Russian equipment, including more than 1,000 tanks, 1,600 armored vehicles, and nearly 900 artillery pieces. This year, Ukraine will launch production of ground drones that will move on the ground and become the "first drones" on the battlefield.

Kamyshin says Ukraine has one of the fastest capabilities to develop all of these new technologies because it is actively testing prototypes in real time on the battlefield: information that can be shared with partners.

The use of drones has the potential to change the course of war, especially since the cost of the most common artillery shell, the 155-mm. has now quadrupled from about $2,000 to more than $8,000. Drones, according to Kamyshin, are much cheaper: one Ukrainian-made FPV drone costs only $1,650. But the problem for Ukraine now is financing domestic development and production.

The Minister emphasized that the best help is funding.

"It is in the interest of our partners, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, to finance our industry and allow us to produce more to win the war," he said.

In addition, according to him, Ukraine's priority is first ammunition, then drones, then air defense.

"We are trying to cover all this with funding. The rest is suffering. But the US and other partners can cover this: we are asking the UK and the US for funding," the minister added.

As a reminder, Kyiv aims to produce one million drones in 2024, which is more than 80,000 drones per month. Analysts believe that these relatively inexpensive devices should compensate for the lack of expensive missiles and artillery shells in the Defense Forces.

At the same time, military expert Oleksandr Kovalenko expressed his belief that drones are the future of warfare, but they will not be able to completely replace artillery.

As reported by OBOZ.UA, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine recently supported a resolution that allows the purchase of drones for the Armed Forces through the Prozorro system. This applies to foreign-made UAVs, such as Mavic, Matrice, and Autel.

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