President Zelensky’s avowed intent for Ukraine to develop and produce its own weapons systems rather than relying on outside contributions is already producing results, with over a dozen approves and many being used on the front lines.
US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller stated in January that the US also intended to support Ukraine to become self-sufficient in arms production and procurement, in advance of lessening US financial and military support to Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Ivan Havryliuk told the Ukrainian news outlet Ekonomichna Pravda on Saturday that the Defense Ministry had approved and certified more than a dozen new domestically-produced weapons and military equipment since the turn of the year.
The newly approved systems include robotic systems for mine clearance and battlefield logistic deliveries, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), engineering equipment and a modernized anti-tank guided missile system (ATGM) along with new missiles.
These latest additions to Ukraine’s armory follow on from two major developments in the fall of 2023. In early October the first weapons developed under the “FrankenSAM” project, whereby Western supplied missiles, such as the AIM-7, the AIM-9 and the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow, were conjoined with Soviet era launchers, such as the Ukrainian BUK and Polish KUB launchers, were deployed.
Also, in October Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, announced a revised simplified procedure to certify both newly designed models of drones and those bought off the shelf which would mean approval for use could be secured in days or weeks rather than months.
Ukraine’s Minister of Strategic Industries, Oleksandr Kamyshin, stated in December that domestic production of mortar rounds had increased by 42 times and artillery rounds had tripled in 2023 as well the restarting of 125mm tank ammunition and small arms ammunition for the first time in many years, in cooperation with German and other international partners.
The approval of equipment through the Defense Ministry’s formal codification process allows for procurement contracts to be signed between the Armed Forces of Ukraine and manufacturers using state funds.
Newly approved key equipment
Shturm-SM mobile ATGMS
This is an upgrade of the Soviet 9P149 Shturm-S system, work on which began in 2019. Mounted on an MTLB chassis it includes a new Luch Design Bureau designed anti-tank guided missile, the RK-2P Barrier-P, which has a range of seven kilometers and can be fitted with a range of warheads including a tandem warhead capable of defeating up to 1,200mm of rolled homogenous armor (RHA) – i.e. all known Russian tanks.
This is combined with a new domestically manufactured combined optical sighting system, the OPSN-I, designed by the SE Izyum Instrument Making Plant and that enables observation, target selection, a range of seven kilometers range-finding and guidance through a semi-automatic command to line of sight (SACLOS) capability.
OPSN-I combined optical sighting system on Shturm-SM. PHOTO: Screenshot AFU video
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Three types of UAV were approved for service with the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU); two types of FPV (first person video) drone with different payload capacities and an upgrade to the Leleka (Stork) surveillance drone. This is an autonomous UAV that uses advanced inertial navigation, and can be fitted with a range of electro-optical (EO), thermal and high resolution sensors. These latest drones have improved protection from and resistance to current Russian electronic warfare equipment.
The TEMERLAND “Iron Caterpillar” is the base vehicle for use as a ground drone, an affordable unmanned mine-clearing system, to assist in evacuating the wounded, and as a platform to transport ammunition, equipment or provisions on the battlefield. These were reported on as being under development in September by the Militarnyi media site . TEMERLAND is a subsidiary of INFOCOM Ltd.
TEMERLAND “Iron Caterpillar” towing battlefield stretcher. PHOTO: Screenshot TEMERLAND marketing video
Havryliuk also said that EW systems, engineering equipment including a mine roller system, and an upgraded version of an armored fighting vehicle had also been certified during the first week of January without giving too many details. He also said that a two-seater quad bike with a cargo capacity of 800 kg and a separate tactical trailer for use on the front lines was approved in this recent round of certifications.
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