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Ukraine to produce a million FPV drones next year -minister

ukrainian serviceman launches a kamikaze fpv drone at a front line near the city of bakhmut
Ukrainian serviceman launches a kamikaze FPV drone at a front line, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk region, Ukraine December 12, 2023. Photo by Reuters

Kyiv plans to produce a million FPV (first-person-view) drones, widely in demand on the front line, and more than 11,000 medium- and long-range attack drones next year, Ukraine’s minister for strategic industries said on Wednesday.

Ukraine intensively used FPV drones – small drones originally for personal civilian use, but modified for the battlefield – since the first days of the 2022 Russian invasion as a cheap but effective option for reconnaissance and attacks.

The tactic was subsequently adopted by Moscow’s troops, now estimated to have many more such drones at their disposal.

“All production facilities are ready, and contracting for 2024 begins,” Oleksandr Kamyshin, the minister, said on Telegram messenger.

The figure includes at least 1,000 drones with a range of more than 1,000 km (600 miles), he said.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy later said the issue of drones, both in stock and being deployed, was discussed at a meeting of commanders and officials on Wednesday

“Logistics will be faster. We are also working on making the use of drones, particularly FPV drones, more efficient in all areas,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

“This is an obvious priority for our country and a very concrete way to protect the lives of our soldiers.”

Ukraine has been working to increase its domestic weapons production in order to secure stable deliveries, not rely exclusively on partners’ aid, and give a boost to the economy.

Kamyshin said that in December his country would produce more than 50,000 FPV drones.

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