Espreso. Global

Spain sends Patriot missiles, Czech initiative provides ammunition, France finally takes practical steps. Serhiy Zgurets' column

26 June, 2024 Wednesday

On June 25, there was a lot of interesting news regarding the supply of weapons to the Ukrainian Armed Forces from various partners other than the US. First of all, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said that the first batch of ammunition had already been delivered to Ukraine as part of the "Czech initiative"


Supply of Western weapons to the Ukrainian Armed Forces

On June 25, there was a lot of interesting news regarding the supply of weapons to the Ukrainian Armed Forces from various partners other than the United States. First of all, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said that the first batch of ammunition had already been delivered to Ukraine as part of the Czech initiative to purchase shells for Ukraine. Given regular funding, Ukraine can expect to receive about 100,000 large-caliber ammunition for the army per month.

Spain, in turn, said that Ukraine has already received another package of Patriot missiles, which are much needed. We know how effectively they are used by the Ukrainian Air Force and understand how important it is to counter the Russian cruise missile attacks.

The Spanish government is also considering the supply of ASCOD infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, which will be manufactured at the facilities of Santa Barbara Sistema. This Italian company is an enterprise that works closely with the American manufacturer, which also owns the technology and documentation for this vehicle. The pace of deliveries, according to the Italian side, is 50 machines per year.

But it is interesting that this year we already knew that the Ukrainian company Ukrainian Armor offered Ukraine's Defense Ministry to launch licensed production of these new ASCOD infantry fighting vehicles in Ukraine. So, we will see what final decision will be made on the production and supply of ASCODs: whether it will be only Italian participants or whether Ukrainian companies will be also involved.

Finally, France has already taken practical steps to supply Ukraine with strike drones. Earlier this year, the French Ministry of Defense announced that they were going to supply Ukraine with as many as 2,000 attack drones. However, it was not known what kind of drones they would be. But now, following the Eurosatory exhibition, it has become known that these are Colibri drones that are undergoing the final test cycle. These drones are designed to destroy light armored vehicles and enemy manpower within a range of up to 25 km. Colibri is designed to operate in an EW suppression environment, and this is good news. There is only one caveat: the tests should be completed in the summer of 2024, and then mass production of these drones and deliveries to Ukraine should begin.

Ukrainian initiatives - HIMERA radio stations

We know that all the suppliers of drones to Ukraine have subsequently finalized their projects, because war is much tougher than the assessments made by the developers of certain foreign weapons. That is why Ukraine's initiatives, its arms manufacturers, who supply the Ukrainian Armed Forces with equipment and weapons that clearly take into account all the challenges of the limited battlefield, are extremely important. This is the case with the Ukrainian company HIMERA, which supplies the Ukrainian Armed Forces with modern Ukrainian radio stations that can operate in the face of Russian electronic warfare and provide Ukraine's units with reliable communications. And now we have new iterations of these radios.

Misha Rudominskyi, co-founder of HIMERA, said that the Himera G1 product has more than 4,000 users within the Defense and Security Forces. The most active part of the development of this product took place in the winter of 2022-2023. What we could do quickly was invested in Himera G1, which showed very good results from general purpose brigades, Territorial Defence Brigades and Special Forces, Intelligence, etc. This product was launched in April-May 2023. Over the past year, there has been much more systematic communication with the military, so there is more understanding of the tasks from the front. The Himera G1 Pro is the tactical radio station that the G1 should have been if there had been more time at that moment. The G1 Pro is a full-fledged tactical radio station, taking into account all the needs and requests in terms of mechanical, radio, and sound characteristics. This is really the product that the Armed Forces needs. In addition, G1 Pro is based on the experience we have gained from communicating with both existing partners and potential international customers. That is, G1 Pro is a combination of deep understanding based on the use of the product on the front line, and on the other hand, experience from best practices that the company has been actively collecting from around the world. These radios will be systematically deployed on the battlefield this summer to help Ukrainian defenders.

The co-founder of HIMERA noted that all the technologies are known and invented in the last century, but how to implement them in such a way that we can be sure that these radios will be less noticeable to electronic intelligence systems is a very big task that has taken a lot of work. It is clear that we cannot talk about certain subtleties, but over the past year, a lot of feedback-based solutions have been invested in this product. On the other hand, this is really a countermeasure to the EW. Again, the company took all the technologies that exist, but used them in such a way that it was able to prove the efficiency and quality of the product in operations that cannot be discussed. HIMERA manufacturers, when users shared their experience, were even surprised at the conditions the radio stations operated in.

Rudominskyi explained that the vast majority of technologies used in the radio are standard. As for the unique features, it is a rechargeable battery that officially holds a charge for 2 days, and according to unofficial data, it can be even longer. The weight of the radio is a few hundred grams, while competitors weigh more than a kilogram, and this is an important component. The radio station can be set up via the Android app, which is a much faster process. That is, the uniqueness of the radio station consists of such small things. Unlike competitors, HIMERA radios are not made for procurement agencies, so they have different priorities, and the end result is slightly different. HIMERA first builds a product for hundreds to thousands of users, with whom they communicate on a regular basis, and if something doesn't work, they immediately look for a solution, for example, update the firmware or provide recommendations for proper use. The G1 Pro will feature two things that have been the most requested: increased range and increased dynamics power.

The developer added that the company currently has no government orders, but HIMERA is working on it as much as possible. Production began with sales directly to the military, then military support funds joined. There are hopes that this year there will be purchases from the state, which is the most systematic and massive customer. Probably, in the coming months we will be able to provide updated information on public procurement.

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