GLOBAL DEFENSE MARKET
DSEI NEWS: Ukraine Defense Industry on Hunt for Investors
Spets Techno Export image
LONDON — Front and center at the Spets Techno Export booth at the DSEI defense industry trade show was a family of small kamikaze drones, each with an accompanying video showing a nonstop loop of the loitering munitions destroying Russian artillery and fighting vehicles.
Spets was the Ukrainian government’s representative at this year’s DSEI, one of the world’s biggest exhibitions of military hardware. It attracted a steady stream of visitors and well-wishers throughout the four-day show, although the technology on display wasn’t necessarily for sale — not yet anyway.
In June 2022, when National Defense visited Ukraine’s booth at the Eurosatory trade show in Paris, the country was there to look for weapon systems and new sources of ammunition for its fight against Russian invaders.
But not this year, Antone Voronin, the government-owned company’s deputy director, said in an exclusive interview. “We’re looking for investors,” he said.
“If we can get new investors, they can give us the possibility of building factories outside the country and inside the country, he said. Then our facilities grow, our manufacturing grows and that helps supply the Ministry of Defense.”
The war has forced Ukraine’s defense industry to mature quickly, he said. The loitering munitions are one example. When it first started resisting the Russians, it had commercial-off-the-shelf, DJI drones made in China. Today, the country is manufacturing its own flying munitions from scratch, he said..
On display were the company’s family of vertical take-off and landing surveillance drones: the Jet 8, Saber, Night Saber and Boxer.
The rail-launched Punisher unmanned aircraft system is capable of carrying three varieties of warheads up to 45 kilometers at speeds of 180 kilometers per hour. The larger FP-1 can fly as far as 700 kilometers to deliver up to 50 kilograms of explosives.
And then, because the Russians are using the same loitering munitions tactics, the company makes a handheld SkyWiper EDM4S electronic drone mitigation system and SkyWiper Omni, designed to be mounted on vehicles.
The videos accompanying the static display were not from a test and evaluation event, but actual battlefield footage of the drones slamming into their targets, rendering the platforms useless, and presumably causing Russian casualties.
“For something like a $2,000 drone, you can destroy a battle tank,” he noted.
To call the technology “battle tested” would be an understatement.
For now, the drones are not for sale. Ukraine needs what it can produce for its fight, Voronin said. Factories are going 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But one day that fight will be over, and the company will return to the export business, he noted.
“We’re looking to the future, not just now,” he said. “In the long term, Ukraine will be open and there will be a big market for these supplies,” he said.
As far as where the factories will be located, they could be outside Ukraine, which gives them more immediate potential for exports. Or they could be located in Ukraine, but located far away from hot zones, near the border with Western Europe, far away from Russia’s reach, he noted.
By day three of the four-day show, Voronin said Spets had signed a couple of cooperative agreements with other companies, but hadn’t yet attracted any investors.