IDEX NEWS: Ukrainian Defense Firms Highlight ‘Combat Proven’ Weapons in UAE

By Mikayla Easley

Mikayla Easley photo

ABU DHABI — Ukraine’s defense industry is showcasing some of its domestically produced military equipment that the country has used during its war with Russia to an international audience.

From anti-ship missiles to unmanned aerial systems, a range of defense technologies made by Ukrainian defense firms were on display during the International Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi this week. At least seven companies under the umbrella of the National Association of Ukrainian Defense Industries, or NAUDI, were at the conference.

“Everything you might see here is all combat proven right now and servicing the [Ukrainian] army,” Oleg Skliar, project manager for Ukraine’s State Kyiv Design Bureau Luch, said on the exhibition floor Feb. 24 — exactly one year after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Russian defense companies were also in attendance this week displaying their own weapon systems being used in the war, although they were outside of the conference center in a separate pavilion across the highway — a significant distance from NAUDI’s booth.

One of the systems on display was a model of Ukraine’s R-360 Neptune anti-ship missile launcher system designed by Luch. Neptune missiles were used to sink the Russian warship Moskva in the Black Sea in April 2022, according to reports from Ukrainian officials and the United States Defense Department.

The land-based system is able to launch missiles at a range of up to 300 kilometers, using an active radar seeker, a company fact sheet said.

Luch was also highlighting its Skif-M anti-tank guided missile system and the Vilkha guided multiple rocket launcher system, both of which are currently being used by Ukrainian forces in the war, Skliar said.

The portable SKIF-M system can fire either 130 mm caliber or 152 mm caliber missiles at ranges of 5000 meters or 5100 meters, respectively. At the same time, Vilkha’s ballistic missiles have a 110 kilometer range and use a GPS guidance system, meaning users “receive very accurate results” when targeting, he noted.

Even though Ukrainian companies like Luch are more focused on supplying weapons and munitions to their home country, Skliar said it was still important to come to the conference to display their products.

“We’re still promoting our products because the market is alive,” he said. “We cannot be outside of the market for a long time because they will forget about us.”

Skliar said that the company is looking for potential research-and-development partnerships for future projects, adding that they are doing their “homework” now so that when Ukraine’s defense industry can come back to the international market it will have the know-how to do so.

Ukrainian-made unmanned aerial systems were also on display at NAUDI’s stand, and many people at IDEX stopped by to ask about the systems, he noted. During the war in Ukraine, the use of drones has proliferated on the battlefield and often they have played a decisive role.

Made by Ukrainian Armor, the Ram II loitering munition is designed for precision strikes against enemy forces and creates minimal collateral damage when used in urban areas, a company fact sheet said.

The company touted the Ram II’s object recognition and tracking capabilities, as well as its low acoustic signature due to an electric motor. The drone can carry a variety of warheads weighing up to 3 kilograms at a range of at least 30 kilometers.

Ukrainian company UkrSpecSystems brought two of its drones to the conference — the PD-2 and the newer Shark UAS. The PD-2 is a multi-mission drone able to conduct reconnaissance or carry munitions, while Shark is designed for fully autonomous reconnaissance and surveillance missions “from a long distance and considerable altitude,” according to the company.

The organization also brought platforms able to neutralize drones to IDEX, including the Nota electronic warfare system made by Ukrainian firm Tritel. Along with disabling unmanned aerial systems, the Nota can disrupt mobile networks and radar intelligence systems by jamming their signals, Skliar said.

Other products at NAUDI’s booth included models of light armored vehicles, radars, parachutes systems for cargo delivery, body armor, ballistic helmets and more.

Skliar said Ukrainian defense companies are also coming to IDEX to address supply chain issues within the country. Since Russia began its full-scale invasion, much of Ukraine’s supply chain has become very vulnerable because it was mostly domestically sourced.

“Now we are trying to find new partners to secure our supply chain in the future so that [we will] not face the same problem we have right now,” he said. “Unfortunately, we still have our crazy neighbor, and we need to find solutions for how to live after.”

Topics: International

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