Espreso. Global

Rheinmetall creates new machine to strengthen Ukraine's defense capabilities. Column by Serhiy Zgurets

19 June, 2024 Wednesday

Rheinmetall has revealed that it will install a modern Skyranger anti-aircraft module on the hulls of Leopard 1 tanks. This tank will be called Frankenstein and will be able to fight Russia's long-range drones and subsonic cruise missiles


QR code in Reserve+

Let me start with the fact that on June 18, an electronic military registration document became available in the Reserve+ mobile application, as reported by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. I can confirm that it really works. However, the data update took a little longer than usual. In about an hour, I received all the QR codes that are now necessary to understand my status. This was not the case in the previous version. Now, the QR code allows every person liable for military service to have a digital version that allows you to show the military commissariat and the police the status you are in.

Yesterday, it was reported that 200,000 Ukrainians have taken advantage of this opportunity to receive a digital identity document. I think this is a good digital step in the right direction. Especially if the Defense Ministry ensures the safety of all digital data related to Ukraine's mobilization reserve.

Renewal of Western equipment for Ukraine's Armed Forces

At the same time, Ukrainian arms projects from our partners are being updated. Western media and almost all Ukrainian media outlets reported that Rheinmetall announced that it would install a modern Skyranger anti-aircraft module on the hulls of Leopard 1 tanks, thus creating a new vehicle to strengthen Ukraine's defense capabilities. This tank will be called Frankenstein and will be able to fight long-range drones and subsonic cruise missiles.

In theory, this is true. This new module offered by Rheinmetall has already been tested on a number of other mobile platforms, both on the Lynx infantry fighting vehicle and the Boxer armored personnel carrier, where these modules are installed. The gun mounted on such a module can destroy enemy targets, when we are talking about cruise missiles and drones, at a distance of up to 4 km. This is a good indicator. It also has its own means of detecting enemy targets using radar and other sensors, and at a distance of up to 5 km it can detect enemy unmanned vehicles.

By and large, this is a continuation of the project with Gepard tanks, which are also anti-aircraft tanks based on the Leopard platform. And now we are offering a new modular solution for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. But while we have more than 100 Gepards, which are quite effective models of equipment, there are still many questions about Frankenstein. We do not know the number of such samples, the pace of production of these weapons, or the conditions under which they will be manufactured. But we understand that this is a step in the right direction. The main thing is that Rheinmetall, which announces a large number of different arms initiatives, also ensures that these samples are manufactured in cooperation with our companies and delivered to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Let's hope that these first statements about the Frankenstein anti-aircraft tank will be followed up in a real and practical, and most importantly, quick way.

Ukrainian producers of electronic warfare equipment

However, it is possible to fight Russian drones not only with the help of anti-aircraft weapons, as presented in the Frankenstein tank solution, but also with the help of electronic warfare. And this field, where electronic warfare is now being actively used at the front, is one of the areas in which both Ukrainian and Russian developers compete. Everyone is talking about fighting drones with electronic warfare. The question is which company can provide the best, most effective solutions that are most effective on the battlefield.

So, let's talk about what is happening in Ukraine with the example of our manufacturers. Quertus creates and manufactures defense systems to counter Russian unmanned aerial vehicles. By the way, this company's products are currently on display in Paris at Eurosatory, which is one of the world's largest arms exhibitions. There are five booths of Ukrainian companies there, which showcase all the best developments of both public and private companies. One of these companies is Quertus, which actually supplies products to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and its best samples are on display at Eurosatory today.

Oleksiy Cherniuk, deputy director of Quertus, said that several samples of Quertus products were taken to the Paris arms exhibition, including various modifications of trench REBs, anti-drone rifles, and the AZIMUTH electronic intelligence system. All of the company's products are made for specific tasks and to counter specific types of drones. For example, to counter reconnaissance drones or bombers, one type of product is ordered, to counter kamikaze drones, there is a request for another type, and to counter both, a third type of product is required. Accordingly, the entire line of Quertus devices is in demand. For example, the QUERTUS AD KRAKEN COUNTER FPV neutralizes the operation of most FPV drones.

The deputy director of Kvertus added that the company has government contracts that cannot be called long-term. "There is no situation where Kvertus is overwhelmed with government contracts. The company's production capacity is much larger than the volume of government orders. Of course, in 2024, the most powerful component in orders is direct government procurement, but before that, more orders were made by volunteers, military units, various defense forces, and businesses also helped the army.

Cherniuk noted that changes are made to the products all the time because there is feedback from the front. For example, to add a button or lengthen the control panel, such changes are made by designers on a daily basis. As for the new frequency bands, the company's specialists travel to the front line every week to show the new products and get feedback from our soldiers. That is, we get first-hand information that the enemy is starting to change the frequencies of drone operations, so we develop a new solution and send it to the guys for testing. If the product shows a positive result, the enemy begins to use drones on other frequencies on a larger scale, and the product goes into production. As for updates, this is handled by the company's separate service centers.

Oleksiy commented on the electronic warfare on armored vehicles, and such protection works for both us and our enemy. The Quertus system is installed on many types of armored vehicles, including those provided by our Western partners. In the future, both Ukrainian and Russian troops will increasingly use electronic warfare equipment to cover equipment. Regarding drone analyzers in the air, the company has an electronic intelligence division, and an AZIMUTH device that is undergoing codification and obtaining a NATO code. We hope that the state will contract and purchase this device. AZIMUTH is already being directly supplied to the troops in various units of Ukrainian Defense Forces, including through philanthropists and businesses. In the coming months, this product will be combined with a new electronic warfare device, and by the end of the summer, a demonstration of the device will take place, which will both detect enemy drones and automatically suppress them at the detected frequencies.

A representative of the Kvertus company believes that the export ban should be lifted because, provided the state's needs are met, export activities bring additional funds to the state. These funds can be further used by the state to strengthen its defense capabilities. "Kvertus has much larger production capacity than the orders it currently receives from the state, philanthropists, and businesses, and the company is ready to export its products, but only to friendly countries.

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