Ukraine's military will spend nearly $550 million on drones in 2023, and 16 supply deals have already been signed with Ukrainian manufacturers, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Monday.
Both Ukrainian and Russian forces have used a wide array of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, for reconnaissance and assault purposes during 11 months of war.
"In 2023, we are increasing the procurement of UAVs for the Armed Forces of Ukraine," Reznikov wrote on Facebook. "We plan to allocate about 20 billion hryvnias ($547.05 million) to this segment."
Foreign weapon suppliers
Ukraine has received significant supplies of UAVs from its partners, from Turkey's missile-equipped Bayraktar TB2 to the Norwegian-made Black Hornet reconnaissance drone, which weighs less than 33 grams.
Kyiv is now seeking to boost domestic production to build what officials cast as an "army of drones."
"The independence of the military-industrial complex is one of the factors of the country's defense capability," Reznikov wrote.
Ukraine's military announced last week it would begin creating assault drone companies within its armed forces, and Reznikov said the Defense Ministry had received applications proposing 75 different Ukrainian-made drones.
"After consultations with the General Staff of the Armed Forces, after tests, the Ministry of Defense has already concluded 16 state contracts with Ukrainian UAV manufacturers," he wrote.