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UK pledges $416 million to buy 10,000 drones for Ukraine

by Kateryna Hodunova March 7, 2024 10:40 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) meets with U.K. Defense Minister Grant Shapps on Sept. 28, 2023 in Kyiv. (President Volodymyr Zelensky/Facebook)
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The U.K. will allocate 325 million pounds ($416 million) to purchase over 10,000 "cutting-edge" drones for Ukraine, Defense Secretary Grant Shapps announced on March 7.

The newly announced aid will further boost the 200-million-pound ($256 million) drone package unveiled in January during U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s visit to Kyiv.

Shapps made the announcement after meeting Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov during a visit to Kyiv on March 7.

The majority of the drones will be highly effective first-person view (FPV) drones. The package will also include 1,000 one-way attack drones, researched and developed in the U.K., as well as surveillance and maritime drones.

Shapps said that more than 100 million pounds ($128 million) from this aid package will be spent on Ukraine’s maritime capabilities, allowing Kyiv to "continue to turn the tide in the Black Sea."

"I am ramping up our commitment to arm Ukraine with cutting-edge new drones coming directly from the UK’s world-leading defense industries – straight from the factory floor to the front line," Shapps said in the press release published by the U.K. Defense Ministry.

"I encourage international partners to join the UK in this effort."

The U.K., along with Latvia, co-leads a drone coalition that aims to bolster Ukraine's arsenal.

Drones have been a key tool in Ukraine's defense against Russia's war. Zelensky said that surpassing Russia in drone operations is one of the top priorities in 2024.

Zelensky also signed a decree on Feb. 6 creating a separate branch of Ukraine's Armed Forces dedicated to drones. It will reportedly focus on creating special drone-specific units, increasing production, ramping up training, and pushing innovations.

Ukraine pins hopes on home-made drones to counter Russia
President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Feb. 7 that the Ukrainian military would create a separate branch of the Armed Forces dedicated to drones. Throughout the full-scale invasion, Ukraine has been a drone tactics pioneer, from applying purpose-built military UAVs to weaponizing civilian models…
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