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THE BIZNOB – Global Business & Financial News – A Business Journal – Focus On Business Leaders, Technology – Enterpeneurship – Finance – Economy – Politics & LifestyleTHE BIZNOB – Global Business & Financial News – A Business Journal – Focus On Business Leaders, Technology – Enterpeneurship – Finance – Economy – Politics & Lifestyle

Politics

Politics

Ukraine races to make more war drone components at home

Ukrainian marine attends FPV-drone flight training amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Dniprope... Ukrainian marine attends FPV-drone flight training amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine May 15, 2023. REUTERS/Sofiia Gatilova File Photo
Ukrainian marine attends FPV-drone flight training amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Dniprope... Ukrainian marine attends FPV-drone flight training amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine May 15, 2023. REUTERS/Sofiia Gatilova File Photo

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Ukraine races to make more war drone components at home. To reduce geopolitical risk, Ukrainian companies and governments are making more components domestically to compete with Russia’s much larger military with tens of thousands of inexpensive attack drones.

Complex supply chains deliver widely accessible electronic components, largely from China, to Ukrainian entrepreneurs in the FPV (first-person-view) drone industry, a fast-growing portion of Ukraine’s defense effort.

Beijing imposed drone and component export curbs a month ago. Five Ukrainian FPV drone manufacturers stated they had not yet cut supplies but stressed the need to increase local manufacturing.

Taras Chmut, president of Ukraine’s largest military procurement organization, Come Back Alive, which recently began FPV drone procurement, claimed domestic manufacturers were creating engines, control units, frames, and cabling.

He claimed the new industry needed skills. Evolutionary process. Localizing anything in Ukraine is impossible. You may never localize some things.” After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, fast, agile, and difficult-to-fly FPV drones were deployed to hit targets cheaply.

FPVs costing less than $1,000 have increased their deployment on both sides of the battle this year, and films of them hitting multi-million dollar targets like tanks and air defense systems are available online. Reuters has not verified them.

During the conflict, Mykhailo Fedorov, digital transformation minister and drone sector advocate, told Reuters that local component manufacture was delayed but important.

“I think we can do this in several years, and that this needs to happen so that we can scale up more quickly in our own production,” they stated.

CHINA CONCERNS

Fedorov assumed that most of the tens of thousands of drones at the front were FPVs. Ukrainian military aid charity Come Back Alive, and state-backed fundraising site United24 gathered $6.4 million for 10,000 FPV drones in three days in August.

FPV usage on the frontline was not fully maximized because of supply issues and lack of money for speedier manufacture, Chmut claimed.

“Right now … there are more FPV pilots than (the) capacity to provide them with machines and weaponry.” China, which denies Western charges that its enterprises helped Iran supply Russia with drones, announced the new export limits on Sept. 1 to promote international peace.

Its trade ministry did not reply to Ukrainian concerns that the limitations might limit their access to wartime drones. Four Ukrainian drone producers and suppliers told Reuters that China supplies most FPV drone parts. It’s plenty. Chmut said Ukraine is aggressively replacing components with native ones from other nations than China.

Larger orders require producer agreements, but e-commerce sites sell parts in tiny batches. Since manufacturers are afraid to sell to Ukraine, two makers told Reuters they ordered from China through intermediary businesses in other nations to avoid selling to Ukraine.

When he buys components on Chinese internet marketplaces to create FPVs for himself, a pilot can’t be sure they’ll be accessible a month later. The drone must be retested after every part change, slowing the process.


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