Zelenskyy and Ukrainian officials map out advanced drone strategy for 2024

Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Volodymyr Zelenskyy
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President Volodymyr Zelenskyy led a comprehensive three-hour discussion focused on drone utilization and strategy, engaging with key military, defense, and governmental leaders, his official Telegram channel reported on April 1.

The session aimed to refine Ukraine's drone production and deployment plans for 2024, encompassing a broad spectrum of drone types, including FPV, bomber, reconnaissance, and specialized long-range UAVs.

The meeting saw the participation of prominent figures such as Oleksandr Syrskyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine; Vasyl Malyuk, head of the SBU security service; Kyrylo Budanov, head of Defense Intelligence; along with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, Minister of Strategic Industries Alexander Kamyshin, and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov.

A key topic was the agility of Ukraine's defense industry in adapting to the evolving needs of the frontline, with an emphasis on timely responses from Ukrainian drone manufacturers. Zelenskyy underscored the necessity for the industry to swiftly meet these changing demands.

Read also: Ukraine’s drone strike campaign against Russian oil refineries

"Important decisions" were made at the meeting to simplify procurement, import components, increase production of drone shells, and train UAV operators. The parties also discussed the project of a comprehensive electronic warfare management system to protect soldiers and equipment from Russian drones. This system is already being tested in some areas, and now the leadership wants to expand the project to the entire front, according to the President.

Drone production in Ukraine

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov said in November 2023 that there were about 200 UAV manufacturing companies in Ukraine.

Ukraine produces the "vast majority" of drones used at the front, from the smallest and cheapest FPV drones to long-range Shahed analogs, Minister of Strategic Industries Alexander Kamyshin said in December.

Ukraine will produce 1 million drones for the Armed Forces in 2024, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Dec. 19.

Read also: Corruption and lack of professional management hinder drone production growth in Ukraine, says military journalist

Ukraine was already producing analogs of Iranian Shahed-131/136 kamikaze drones used by the Russian military, Kamyshin said in February 2024, adding that "as of this year, (Ukraine’s) production capabilities for Shaheds are no less than Russia's."

Fedorov also announced the mass production of analogs of Russian Lancet strike UAVs with a range of 40 km.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine