In Ukraine, there is still no mass production of its military drones, although there are specialists who are engaged in this and have good achievements. As the Ukrainian developers themselves explain, obtaining permission to import military or dual-use components is an almost unrealistic task for most. If you enter it incorrectly, you will be locked out. Why this happens, read on.
— The state monopolies and enterprises of the country did not cope with the task of producing drones, moreover, they almost lack their own original developments, – told “FACTS” head of the All-Ukrainian Federation of Drone Owners Taras Troyak. — In our country, however, there are many small companies that have their product, but cannot import the necessary components to bring it to the final stage. But in order to produce UAVs in Ukraine, it is necessary to remove all restrictions on the supply of dual-purpose or military components for them from abroad. In fact, the problem is not even the law that governs this issue, but that the officials are delaying the issuance of this permit. That is, there is a certain procedure, but it is extremely difficult to actually get a permit. Personally, we spent four months on this and it was only after I publicly expressed this problem that we were promised a permit. But we understand that not only one, there are others, including even those manufacturers who knew how to get these permits. Currently, they also have their complaints about the speed of their issuance. After all, even without one component, it is impossible to complete the entire product.
“So these components are only available abroad?” Ukraine does not make them?
— Even Shahed were created from components purchased in many countries around the world, including the United States.
— Is there a UAV in Ukraine that can compete with Iranian drones?
– In fact, “Shaheed” has been developed and produced for ten years, so we will not be able to reach their level in a month. But we are definitely able to create an alternative version that will be almost like its “opponent”, but in some details it will not be at such a high level, because Shahed is a large aviation production. Ukrainian teams that produce UAVs take cheaper body parts because they are more accessible and do not require special and complex production equipment. But if we talk about the final goal, then in fact there are already ready-made models that can be put into production. And if Shahed is flying, you can launch this drone and it will intercept the enemy. However, the goal can be changed.
If you see strikes at various power plants in Belgorod, for example, this is done by our drones. There simply aren’t many of these manufacturers, and accordingly there aren’t enough UAVs. But since there is no access to the base, they usually fly in one direction and the efficiency of their use is quite low. If manufacturers can introduce dual-purpose components, precisely those that are not susceptible to jamming and influence, then the efficiency of using such systems will increase significantly. Therefore, these items are under expert legislation, so not everyone can buy them, but only by international procedure.
— Do we have constructors in our country who can produce UAVs?
— Moreover, until 2013, the designers of DP “Antonov” cooperated with the Iranian side and together even produced An-148 aircraft in Iran. And there were many Iranian companies that additionally paid the designers for sharing technology and developing aviation solutions for them. It can be said that our engineers have taught their own how to build aviation aircraft of various types. Because they didn’t have such specialists before. So Iran is now using some of the Ukrainian technology against Ukraine.
— How much money is needed on average to produce a drone in Ukraine? And how long does it take to make one?
— It all depends on the characteristics and the combat task it has to perform. The more complex it is, the more expensive it is to produce. An ordinary drone will cost about 500 dollars, so that it flies 200-300 kilometers – the price starts at 100,000 dollars. If the flight range is 2000-3000 kilometers, then $500,000 is needed. As for conditions, a simpler, cheaper reconnaissance aircraft requires one and a half to two months. But the problem is that many teams already have a product, it just needs to be equipped with components that are forced to wait for permissions. Because if you violate the order on the movement of goods with a dual mandatory purpose, this is already a criminal article and the penalty is a fine or imprisonment for up to 5 years. I will note that a “Shaheed” costs about half a million dollars. Within the gross domestic product of the Russian Federation and the amount of money, it’s nothing, it’s cheap to them. It’s not always about money, it’s about selling to you.
— Two years ago, you expressed the idea of building an airport for unmanned aerial vehicles. It will be the first drone airport where any type of UAV can be tested. What stage is this matter at?
— At the moment, the General Staff and the Kyiv City State Administration are interested in my idea, because they understand how necessary and important it is. But, unfortunately, there is no funding yet. If the project is implemented, then only with grants. And they are still to be found.
Earlier, “FACTS” reported that Ukrainians collected funds for the first domestic naval drone, which will be called “Kherson” – in honor of the liberation of the city from the Russian invaders.
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