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14 Jan, 2024 10:50

Ukraine urges citizens to build drones at home

President Zelensky’s goal of producing a million UAVs in 2024 is achievable with help from the public, a minister has said
Ukraine urges citizens to build drones at home

Ukrainian citizens should complete online courses and begin assembling drones to meet the needs of the country's military amid its conflict with Russia, Deputy PM and Digital Transformation Minister Mikhail Fedorov has proposed.

The goal of producing a million UAVs in 2024, recently announced by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is “realistic” if the public helps the government, Fedorov insisted in a post on Facebook on Saturday.

Small, first-person-view (FPV) drones have become “a game-changer” in the conflict, he wrote.

Since the fighting escalated in February 2022, the Kiev government has removed many legal obstacles restricting drone-production and the country’s firms are currently increasing output, the minister added.

But any person can help boost Ukraine's UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) arsenal by completing “an engineering course that teaches you how to assemble a seven-inch FPV drone at home,” Fedorov explained.

According to the minister, the online program provides lectures, Zoom conferences with experts, a list of components and must-have tools and materials needed to make a UAV, as well as access to an engineering community for advice and questions. A new course starts every two weeks and is absolutely free, he claimed.

Fedorov lauded the fact that program participants have already assembled around a hundred drones, 80% of which were in working order.

The head of Electronic and Cyber Warfare at Ukraine’s General Staff, Colonel Ivan Pavlenko, told the Financial Times last week that “the Russians have been producing so many [drones] lately that it’s becoming a huge threat” for Kiev’s forces.

In the same article, the FT reported that Moscow also “maintains the upper hand” when it comes to electronic warfare technology aimed at jamming and diverting enemy UAVs, while Kiev is only “trying to catch up.” 

Former Ukrainian MP Igor Lutsenko, who now serves in the military, told Ukrainian outlet Telegraf last week that Russia is launching around a hundred drones per day on the frontline. However, with production in Russia on the rise, Lutsenko said he expected the daily launches to increase to 200 or 300 soon.

As for Ukraine, the goal of making one million UAVs this year is “achievable” but won’t be enough, he warned, as the country actually needs two or three times more than that.