Ukraine Seeks Customers, Despite War

Ukraine UAVs Shark (left) and Mini Shark (right)
Ukraine UAVs Shark (left) and Mini Shark (right).

Surprisingly perhaps, Ukraine has not given up trying to export defence equipment, despite its pressing needs on the home front.

At DSA, the National Association of Ukrainian Defence Industries (NAUDI) is showing models of a mobile radar, light armoured vehicles, a self-propelled howitzer, a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) and three missiles. Above the stand are hung two UAVs.

A spokesman explained that Ukraine needs foreign currency, and to keep up export relationships. Although most attention has focused on what weaponry might be handed over to Ukraine by Western powers, the efforts of the country’s defence industry while under attack have been impressive. Some factories have been hit, notably the Motor Sich engine production plant. Some factories have relocated to safer territory in western Ukraine. Most are working 24 hours, in a three-shift system.

The two UAVs on display are representative of an explosion of indigenous activity in this sector. The Shark and the Mini Shark are made by Ukrspec Systems for ISR, carrying the same company’s lightweight USG-261 gimbal and camera. Ukrspec also makes the larger PD-2 UAS with options for VTOL and catapult launch, as well as conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL). Flight time with the maximum payload of 29kg is eight hours (VTOL) or ten hours (CTOL).

The missiles shown are not for sale, said the spokesman, but are a showcase for the capability of the state-owned Luch Design Bureau. For instance, the Neptune 360ST anti-ship cruise missile was modified for longer range and ground launch in only seven months. This was the missile that destroyed the Russian warship Moskva in April 2022. The spokesman said that Luch is designing a new missile, but would not divulge further details.

A model of the P-18S air defence radar is also on display. This is also an upgrade of a 2D meter-band system, with a maximum detection range of 360km. It is produced by SEE System Electronic Export, which has also modernised the 2D, L-band P-19 radar.

by Chris Pocock