International Coalition to Supply Ukraine with Thousands of Drones

Under the initiative, the U.K. is committing 200 million pounds to manufacture drones, making it Ukraine’s largest drone supplier.

Under the new initiative, the U.K. will scale up and streamline provision of first person view (FPV) drones to Ukraine. [Courtesy: Ukraine Territorial Defense Forces]

A new international coalition led by the U.K. and Latvia will soon flow thousands of drones into Ukraine to bolster its military's ongoing fight against Russia, the countries' defense ministers announced Thursday.

The drone capability coalition will operate within the framework of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group—a coalition of more than 50 countries tasked with coordinating military aid for Ukraine—which met in Brussels on Wednesday. The announcement comes two months after Latvia announced its role in spearheading  the coalition as part of a growing list of aid funneling into Ukraine two years after Russia launched its invasion.

"We are grateful to our British partners for their unwavering support. Drones play a vital role in modern warfare—they detect and destroy Russian armored vehicles, personnel, and even ships," Ukraine's Ministry of Defense said Thursday on X, formerly known as Twitter.

While officials did not immediately say how many drones would be delivered, Latvian defense minister Andris Spruds indicated the coalition's eventual target.

"With [Rustem Umerov, Ukraine’s minister of defense,] we will work towards the goal of delivering one million drones to Ukraine," Spruds said Thursday in a message on X.

Under the new initiative, the U.K. will scale up and streamline provision of first person view (FPV) drones to Ukraine. 

The FPV drone capability of providing situational awareness to operators has been considered highly effective in targeting enemy positions, according to British military officials.

"The U.K. continues to do all we can to give Ukraine what it needs—upping our aid to 2.5 billion [pounds] this year and committing 200 million [pounds] to manufacture drones, making us Ukraine’s largest drone supplier," U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said.

"We know, of course, that drones are very important in this war," Dutch Defense Minister Kasja Ollongren told Reuters. "That's why we are joining the drone coalition that Ukraine has started together with Latvia, together with other countries, to make sure that we do just that—increase production, use the latest technology, and provide exactly what Ukraine needs."

The race to production hasn't gone unnoticed by Russia. On Thursday, Russian defense company Izhevsk Unmanned Systems, maker of Kub and Tachyon drones, said it was expanding its production facility and adding 360 jobs in order to ramp up output of its drones "10 times in 2024," TASS Russian news agency reported.

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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