Ukraine says it will produce more than one million drones this year

  • Ukraine will produce more than a million drones this year, its digital transformation minister said.

  • Ukraine produced 50 times more drones in December 2023 than it did in the whole of 2022, he told Diia.

  • State funding is set to increase about tenfold, Mykhailo Fedorov told Reuters.

Ukraine will produce more than a million drones this year, according to its minister of digital transformation.

Mykhailo Fedorov made the prediction in an interview on Sunday with state-owned outlet Diia.

Ukraine delivered 50 times more drones in December than it did in the whole of 2022, Fedorov said, per a translation by news outlet Militarnyi.

Fedorov also spoke with news agency Reuters last week, where he offered more details about Ukraine's drone production capacity.

He said that Ukraine ramped up its drone production and delivery significantly in 2023, per the news agency.

The government's BRAVE1 initiative awarded $2.5 million in grants to military IT businesses last year, he said, per Reuters, with the sum expected to increase about tenfold in 2024.

"We will fight to increase the financing even more," he told the news agency.

Fedorov went as far as saying that Kyiv had reached a "certain kind of parity" with Moscow in the development of long-range drones, per Reuters.

This matters because Ukraine has been trying to ramp up its domestic production of drones to make up for a drop in Western aid and to fight off Russian forces.

Ukraine has used drones to attack Russia’s oil and gas industry, blow up armored columns, and damage Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

It has also innovated by producing new drones with different sets of capabilities: the reconnaissance "Ironclad" drone, the jamming-resistant Backfire drone, a sea drone, and the Ratel S ground drone, among others.

Meanwhile, Russia has also expanded its domestic production and arsenal of drones, including one similar to Iran's Shahed drones.

Russia continues to have a significant advantage when it comes to drones over Ukraine, with one Ukrainian commander saying that for every Ukrainian drone, Russia has between five and seven.

Ukraine and Russia are flying so many drones in the skies that a Ukrainian drone operator said that “nobody knows how to advance.”

At the same time, Ukraine’s cheap drones have become increasingly vulnerable to Russia’s improved jamming and spoofing equipment, forcing it to keep on innovating.

To do so, Fedorov said Ukraine needs to break away from the "anti-bureaucratic way" so the military can achieve a "breakthrough in the war of technology," per Reuters.

"We are going to continue to put our bets on this, to work in this direction because technology can really save us," he said.

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