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WSJ: Manufacturer of plastic containers from Kharkiv Oblast organises production of long-range drones – photo

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WSJ: Manufacturer of plastic containers from Kharkiv Oblast organises production of long-range drones – photo

Inside a hangar in the west of Ukraine, several dozen workers are assembling drones that are used to launch attacks in Russia’s far rear.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Details: The owner of the drone manufacturing plant asked not to disclose information about the location of production, the name of the drone and the identities of employees to protect them from a Russian attack. 

Before the Russian invasion, the businessman produced plastic containers in the north of Kharkiv Oblast. After fleeing to the west of Ukraine, he worked in railway logistics. Last summer, the security services approached him with a prototype of a long-range drone and asked him to create more. 

The businessman hired several veterans of the aviation industry. 

A 74-year-old former chief specialist at the Kharkiv Aviation Plant, who works in the production of drones, says that he should have retired long ago at his age, but there is a war in the country.

Drone production. 
Photo: WSJ

The next problem was scaling up. Currently, 75 people work on the production line, which starts with pressing fibreglass mesh into moulds shaped like wings, tails and noses. After 11 hours of solidifying in a furnace, the parts are assembled to make a small plane with a wingspan of 2 metres. The engine and explosives are installed at another factory. 

The plant can only produce one or two bodies of each type of drone per day. To increase the capacity, the businessman recently purchased a second polymerisation furnace. He plans to expand the premises and hire another 50 people for two shifts.

At the same time, it is developing its drone model with a planned range of more than 1,000 km.

Drone production. 
Photo: WSJ

The WSJ reports that Ukraine uses long-range drones to reach far beyond the line of contact and hit oil refineries, airfields and logistics. 

The long-range drone strikes are aimed at reducing fuel supplies to the Russian military and depriving Moscow of export revenues to finance the war.  

Kyiv could also force Moscow to relocate its air defence systems away from the line of contact by moving the war to Russia. 

One of the drone manufacturers says that manufacturing costs range from US$30,000 to US$300,000 per piece. But this is still significantly less than the cost of a cruise missile. 

The WSJ noted that the rapid development of the Ukrainian drone industry underscores the ingenuity that made it possible to resist the invasion of a much larger neighbour.

Samuel Bendett, an expert on unmanned aerial vehicles at the US Naval Research Center, believes that all Ukraine needs to do is optimise production and choose those drones that can be mass-produced. 

It is not known how many long-range drones Ukraine currently produces.  

A Ukrainian military intelligence officer who participated in the launch of drones says only about 20% of them reach their target through Russian obstacles.

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