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Ukraine urgently seeks 10,000 military robots from domestic manufacturers

The procurement of unmanned ground vehicles is crucial for handling resupply missions, providing remote firepower, and reducing troop casualties in the face of Russian aggression.
The THeMIS robotic platform – The Armed Forces of Ukraine already have such systems in their arsenal. Photo: Milrem Robotics.
Ukraine urgently seeks 10,000 military robots from domestic manufacturers

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense is urgently working to acquire over 10,000 unmanned ground vehicles from domestic robotics companies to meet critical military needs, Defense Express writes.

With Russia relying heavily on long-range artillery, Ukraine aims to rapidly field thousands of robots to take over dangerous resupply missions on the frontlines and provide remote firepower against Russian forces. These unmanned systems are seen as essential for reducing troop casualties.

While unmanned aerial vehicles like the Turkish-made Bayraktar have already proven their worth, deploying ground robots en masse remains a challenge. The defense industry meeting focused on identifying the military’s most urgent needs and overcoming barriers facing domestic producers.

“Logistics robots for medical evacuation and delivering ammunition into areas of active combat are our top priority,” Havrylov stated. “Weaponized platforms equipped with guns, grenade launchers or anti-tank missiles are also in high demand.”

Stationary weapon stations that can be remotely operated from defensive positions comprise a third priority category.

A high-level meeting held on July 27 in Kyiv brought together over 30 robotics firms and top defense officials to jumpstart procurement efforts. Participants included Deputy Defense Minister Volodymyr Havrylov, representatives from the Ministry of Defense, General Staff, Armed Forces, and manufacturers of various unmanned platforms.

Participants reviewed capabilities of various existing robot designs and discussed how to accelerate testing and procurement procedures. Attracting international financing to speed up development of new unmanned platforms was another key topic.

The defense ministry’s newly formed accelerator program helped coordinate the industry meeting, underscoring the urgency of getting robots onto the battlefield. Further collaboration between manufacturers and military end-users will aim to quickly match platforms with operational needs.

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With wartorn cities like Bakhmut seeing intense urban combat, unmanned systems can take over dangerous tasks like scouting enemy positions, supplying frontline forces, or laying down suppressive fire against Russian troops.

Defense officials stated that finding the right robotics solutions will save soldiers’ lives and help Ukraine prevail against Russia’s aggression. But with an estimated need for over 10,000 systems, domestic industry must rapidly ramp up production through close cooperation with Ukraine’s military.

Ukraine’s troops have begun improvising kamikaze drones using commercial off-the-shelf technology, which is only one example of Ukrainian recent developments. Recent photos show Ukrainian soldiers operating small wheeled drones equipped with MON-200 anti-personnel mines. The agile remotely-controlled robots can covertly approach Russian positions and detonate their explosive payloads.

Бійці ЗСУ готуються до застосування робота-камікадзе на Бахмутському напрямку, березень 2023 року, зображення з відкритих джерел

While details are limited, the drone chassis appears to reuse components from pre-war Ukrainian projects or homemade designs. The MON-200 mine contains 900 lethal fragments and can inflict casualties out to a 200-meter radius.

This is not the first time Ukraine’s defenders have fielded improvised kamikaze drones against invaders. Earlier this year, the Azov Regiment utilized a drone carrying a MON-200 mine and 12kg of TNT explosives during fighting near Bakhmut.

The earlier system used a separate observation drone to monitor its attack run before remotely detonating the munition. With production-ready designs already proven, ad-hoc kamikaze drones can now be rapidly manufactured using commercially available parts.

Affordable quadcopters paired with anti-tank mines or mortar shells are just some of the options for lethal unmanned systems. While limited in range, these nimble kamikaze drones enable Ukrainian troops to strike Russian targets and quickly escape counter-fire. With access to drones, electronic components and 3D printing equipment, Ukraine’s forces continue displaying their trademark ingenuity. Do-it-yourself weapons, customized commercial drones and agile vehicle designs allow flexible, asymmetric tactics against conventionally superior Russian forces.

Kamikaze drones represent the latest example of adaptable technology keeping Ukraine’s defenders equipped for urban combat. As fighting drags on, both sides remain engaged in a relentless struggle to innovate.

Read more:

  1. Five Ukrainian war startups taking on Russia’s brute force
  2. Ukraine’s Defence Tech cluster invests $225,000 in 15 projects
  3. Could Ukraine Copy Israel’s Military Tech Success?
  4. Ukraine receives three RADA radars produced by Israeli defense technology company to detect Russian missiles
  5. Ukraine’s tech sector is playing vital wartime economic and defense roles
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