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In 2024, Ukraine will produce one million combat drones – Zelenskyy

During the year-end press conference on December 19, 2023, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the establishment of domestic mass production of UAVs for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Servicemen of the 15th Separate Artillery Reconnaissance Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine prepare a Shark drone
produced by the Ukrainian company Ukrspecsystems for launch. October 30, 2023, the Kharkiv region.
Photo: Alina Smutko / Reuters

One of the topics for discussion during the press conference was Ukraine’s establishment of UAV mass production, including FPV drones and standardized munitions for them. Additionally, the question of creating a special unit within the Armed Forces of Ukraine to manage combat drones was raised.

“I support drone production and creating special units. There should be infrastructure for drone management. It should be easy and quick to use (…) Our soldiers in brigades will be receiving Ukrainian-made UAVs. We will produce a million drones next year,” emphasized President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Later, the Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov, stated that Ukrainian production will be able to make even more combat drones in 2024 than a million mentioned by the President. “In fact, next year, even more FPVs will be produced. Contracts have already been signed for nearly several hundred thousand FPVs [a type of combat UAV with a remote “first-person view” function for its operator – ed.] units, with serial production deployed and a high potential for the localization of most components”.

According to Fedorov, there is an approved budget of nearly 50 billion hryvnias for drones. A new procedure for signing contracts for UAV production has also been developed. In particular, the innovative approach removes many bureaucratic barriers, from component control to increasing manufacturer profitability.

A Ukrainian defender of the 92nd Separate Mechanized Brigade named after Kosh Otaman Ivan Sirko adjusts
an FPV drone for operation on the Bakhmut axis in the Donetsk region. December 9, 2023.
Photo: Vladyslav Kravets / Suspilne

Ukrainian defenders have been actively using different types of drones during military operations for reconnaissance and strike missions.

Earlier, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine approved the Saker Scout drone for use by the Ukrainian military. The Saker software is based on artificial intelligence algorithms and will help Ukrainian defenders in electronic warfare against Russian invaders.