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Ukraine Develops Own NASAMS Equivalent and Long-Range Missile with Range of Up to 700 km

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NASAMS missile launch / Illustrative photo from open sources
NASAMS missile launch / Illustrative photo from open sources

What technological and bureaucratic obstacles do domestic arms manufacturers face?

Currently, the capabilities of the Ukrainian military defense industry allow covering a significant portion of the Armed Forces' needs for weapons and ammunition.

This includes large-scale production of UAVs and maritime drones, indigenous mortars, and artillery ammunition of Soviet calibers 122mm and 152mm, among other items.

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Ukraine is also preparing to commence production of its own 155mm shells in the second half of 2024, working on its own analogue of the NASAMS air defense system, and a long-range missile with a launch range of up to 700 kilometers.

The process of manufacturing 82mm mortars for the Armed Forces of Ukraine
The process of manufacturing 82mm mortars for the Armed Forces of Ukraine / Photo credit: Oksana Parafeniuk for The Washington Post

However, the capabilities of the Ukrainian military defense industry are far from sufficient to provide all the necessary armaments for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, let alone compensate for the shortage of military aid from the United States. This is mentioned in The Washington Post article.

In their publication, journalists refer, in particular, to the words of the Executive Director of the National Association of Ukrainian Defense Industries (NAUDI), Maksym Polyvianyi, who outlined that "I can say that without the help of our Western partners, our friends, including from the United States, we will not be able to fully meet the needs of the armed forces of Ukraine". And to establish its own large-scale production of high-tech systems capable of deterring russian aggressors, Ukraine needs a very long time.

"To master such a production, to build such a production, decades must pass," said Polyvianyi.

The process of manufacturing 120mm mortars for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Defense Express
The process of manufacturing 120mm mortars for the Armed Forces of Ukraine / Photo credit: Oksana Parafeniuk for The Washington Post

Currently, the actual production of weapons in the capabilities of the Ukrainian defense industry is hindered by several factors. Primarily, this is due to the lack of resources when compared to the necessary production volumes.

In 2024, the government plans to increase defense production sixfold; however, the allocated $5 billion from the Ukrainian state budget will clearly be insufficient for this purpose, and direct financial aid from Western countries cannot be spent on military needs. Therefore, against this backdrop, using confiscated assets from russia for financing defense production becomes an attractive option.

However, even if our country had sufficient funds right now, there would still be another problem for weapon production - the global shortage of gunpowder and rocket fuel. This problem, according to NAUDI Executive Director Polyvianyi, has already led to periodic shutdowns of defense production in Ukraine.

The 82mm mine of Ukrainian production, Defense Express
The 82mm mine of Ukrainian production / Photo credit: Oksana Parafeniuk for The Washington Post

In addition, the problem for the Ukrainian defense industry is also compounded by the operating mode of domestic bureaucracy, where contracts for defense products are signed by several ministries at once, but there is no long-term procurement planning.

"The stupid question every time we get from different ministries is ‘How much can you produce this month?’" said Artem Viunnyk, head of Athlon Avia, which makes the Furia, Ukraine’s main reconnaissance drone for spotting artillery. "They have to understand that manufacturing does not work like that."

Before the war, Athlon produced 100 drones a year, Viunnyk said. Now it makes 150 a month. But contracts require months of planning to buy raw materials.

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