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Ukrainian Defense Industry: Kyiv catches up with Russia in Shahed drone analog production

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 8, 2024 5:06 PM 2 min read
Russian UAV strikes target in Kyiv in 2022. Russia has used low-cost Iran-designed drones to chip away at Ukraine's sophisticated air defenses provided by the West. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images)
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Ukraine has caught up with Russia in the production of domestically-made kamikaze drones similar to Iranian-designed Shahed-131/136, Herman Smetanin, the head of the state-owned Ukrainian Defense Industry company, said in an interview with ArmyInform published on May 8.

Ukraine has intensified its efforts to ramp up domestic production of attack drones, a critical tool on the battlefield, aiming to manufacture 1 million drones this year.

Russia has used Shahed-type kamikaze drones, both supplied by Iran and domestically produced, for regular attacks on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure.

Kyiv has also caught up with Moscow in the production of other attack drones, Smetanin said.

"Everything that explodes in Russia is ours," he quoted Strategic Industries Minister Oleksandr Kamyshin.

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Kamyshin earlier described the Ukrainian version of the Shahed drone as identical to the original "in terms of the amount of explosives they carry, their range, and other technical parameters."

The Ukrainian Defense Industry concern signed a number of contracts with private companies, mostly for licensed production, to build more drones, according to Smetanin.

"A very large number" of private enterprises and scientists are also involved in developing new types of weapons for Ukraine, he said.

"There are developments that are more innovative, and there are those that meet the needs of tomorrow," Smetanin added.

Ukrainian soldiers already reportedly use domestically-produced attack drones similar to Russian Lancet drones at the front.

The government supported a draft decree by President Volodymyr Zelensky on the creation of a separate Armed Forces branch dedicated to unmanned systems on May 7.

The Counteroffensive: Behind the scenes with a Ukrainian drone-hunting unit
Editor’s Note: This article was published by the twice-weekly newsletter “The Counteroffensive with Tim Mak” on April 29, 2024, and has been re-published by the Kyiv Independent with permission. To subscribe to “The Counteroffensive,” click here. While most Ukrainians take shelter during Russian at…
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