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Ukraine wants to rebuild its weapons industry

Dec 07, 2023

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When Ukraine was a part of the USSR, it was a major weapons manufacturer. To win the war with Russia and protect its future, Ukraine’s government wants the country to regain that former prominence.

Ukraine’s Armed Forces are up to the task. The UAF used domestically produced Unmanned Surface Vessels (USV) called Sea Babies to destroy or severely damage several ships in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Sea Babies were also used to damage the pylons on the Kerch Bridge, a main supply line for Russian troops in occupied Crimea.

When it comes to long-range weapons, the West is mostly reluctant to send Ukraine anything that could be used to hit Russian targets too deep behind Russian lines. So, Ukraine built its own long-range weapons. The Morok suicide drone is shrouded in secrecy, but Ukrainian sources said it can hit targets up to 500 miles away.

The Morok may be responsible for several drone attacks in Russian, or Russian-held, territory. Most recently, an oil facility in eastern Crimea was hit with Ukrainian drones. Several other Russian military factories were also hit during the last week of November and first week in December. The impacted factories were responsible for building some of Russia’s most advanced weaponry.

Of course, Ukraine hasn’t forgotten about the weapons that put its defense industry on the map. Missiles.

The Neptune anti-ship missile already has quite the reputation after it sank the Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, in August of 2022. Now, the Neptune is getting an upgrade that will allow it to fly further and hit harder.

The current range of the Neptune is right at 200 miles. The new variant will add another 50 miles of distance. The missile’s warhead is also getting bigger, growing to almost 800 pounds of explosive material.

Originally designed to take out ships, the Neptune was modified for land attack roles. It was Neptune missiles that were used in August to take out Russia’s array of sophisticated radars and air defense systems in western Crimea.

However, Ukraine’s current portfolio of domestically produced weaponry isn’t enough. The country has agreements in place with defense contractors from the United Kingdom, Germany and Turkey to start producing certain weapons systems in country.

Rheinmetall wants to build a factory to build tanks, armored vehicles and air defense systems. Bayraktar will partner with Ukraine to build TB-2 drones.

Ukraine is hoping the biggest weapons manufacturing country in the world, the United States, will set up shop within its borders as well. While aid packages for Ukraine stalled in Congress, several high-ranking delegates from the Ukrainian government met with defense contractors in Washington, D.C., to discuss potential partnerships.

U.S. funding for Ukraine will run out by the end of the year. So, Ukrainian officials said it is imperative that the country locks down more contracts with U.S. suppliers. And it’s not like Ukraine doesn’t have anything to offer in return. After all, while other countries are still experimenting with weapons designs, Ukraine is perfecting its use in real-world scenarios.

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[Ryan Robertson]
WHEN UKRAINE WAS A PART OF THE USSR, IT WAS A MAJOR WEAPONS MANUFACTURER. TO WIN THE WAR WITH RUSSIA AND PROTECT ITS FUTURE, UKRAINE’S GOVERNMENT WANTS THE COUNTRY TO REGAIN THAT FORMER PROMINENCE.

AND UKRAINE’S ARMED FORCES ARE DEFINITELY UP TO THE TASK. THE UAF USED DOMESTICALLY PRODUCED UNMANNED SURFACE VESSELS CALLED SEA BABIES TO DESTROY OR SEVERELY DAMAGE SEVERAL SHIPS IN RUSSIA’S BLACK SEA FLEET. SEA BABIES WERE ALSO USED TO DAMAGE THE PYLONS ON THE KERCH BRIDGE, A MAIN SUPPLY LINE FOR RUSSIAN TROOPS IN OCCUPIED CRIMEA.

WHEN IT COMES TO LONG-RANGE WEAPONS, THE WEST IS MOSTLY RELUCTANT TO SEND UKRAINE ANYTHING THAT COULD BE USED TO HIT RUSSIAN TARGETS TOO DEEP BEHIND RUSSIAN LINES. SO, UKRAINE BUILT THEIR OWN LONG-RANGE WEAPONS. THE MOROK SUICIDE DRONE IS SHROWDED IN SECRECY, BUT UKRAINIAN SOURCES SAY IT CAN HIT TARGETS UP TO 500 MILES AWAY.

THE MOROK MAY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR SEVERAL DRONE ATTACKS IN RUSSIAN TERRITORY. MOST RECENTLY, AN OIL FACILITY IN EASTERN CRIMEA WAS HIT WITH UKRAINIAN DRONES. SEVERAL OTHER RUSSIAN MILITARY FACTORIES WERE ALSO RECENTLY HIT; FACTORIES RESPONSIBLE FOR BUILDING SOME OF RUSSIA’S MOST ADVANCED WEAPONRY.

OF COURSE, UKRAINE HASN’T FORGOTTEN ABOUT THE WEAPONS THAT PUT ITS DEFENSE INDUSTRY ON THE MAP. MISSILES.

THE NEPTUNE ANTI-SHIP MISSILE ALREADY HAS QUITE THE REPUTATION AFTER IT SANK THE MOSKVA, THE FLAGSHIP OF RUSSIA’S BLACK SEA FLEET, IN 2022. NOW, THE NEPTUNE IS GETTING AN UPGRADE THAT WILL ALLOW IT TO FLY FURTHER AND HIT HARDER.

THE CURRENT RANGE OF THE NEPTUNE IS RIGHT AT 200 MILES. THE NEW VARIANT WILL ADD ANOTHER 50 MILES OF DISTANCE. THE MISSILE’S WARHEAD IS ALSO GETTING BIGGER, GROWING TO ALMOST 800 POUNDS OF EXPLOSIVE MATERIAL.

ORIGINALLY DESIGNED TO TAKE OUT SHIPS, THE NEPTUNE WAS MODIFIED FOR LAND ATTACK ROLES. IT WAS NEPTUNE MISSILES THAT WERE USED IN AUGUST TO TAKE OUT RUSSIA’S ARRAY OF SOPHISTICATED RADARS AND AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS IN WESTERN CRIMEA.

BUT UKRAINE’S CURRENT PORTFOLIO OF DOMESTICALLY PRODUCED WEAPONRY ISN’T ENOUGH. THE COUNTRY HAS AGREEMENTS IN PLACE WITH DEFENSE CONTRACTORS FROM THE UK, GERMANY, AND TURKEY TO START PRODUCING CERTAIN WEAPONS SYSTEMS IN COUNTRY.

RHEINMETALL WANTS TO BUILD A FACTORY TO BUILD TANKS, ARMORED VEHICLES AND AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS. BAYRAKTAR WILL PARTNER WITH UKRAINE TO BUILD TB-2 DRONES.

BUT UKRAINE IS HOPING THE BIGGEST WEAPONS MANUFACTURING COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, THE US, WILL SET UP SHOP IN ITS BORDERS TOO. WHILE AID PACKAGES FOR UKRAINE STALLED IN CONGRESS, SEVERAL HIGH-RANKING DELEGATES FROM THE UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT MET WITH DEFENSE CONTRACTORS IN WASHINGTON D.C. TO TALK ABOUT POTENTIAL PARTNERSHIPS.

US FUNDING FOR UKRAINE WILL RUN OUT BY THE END OF THE YEAR, SO UKRAINE SAYS IT’S IMPERATIVE IT LOCKS DOWN MORE CONTRACTS WITH US SUPPLIERS. AND IT’S NOT LIKE UKRAINE DOESN’T HAVE ANYTHING TO OFFER IN RETURN. AFTERALL, WHILE OTHER COUNTRIES ARE STILL EXPERIMENTING WITH WEAPONS DESIGNS, UKRAINE IS PERFECTING THEIR USE IN REAL WORLD SCENARIOS.