United24 fundraising platform initiated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy launched a fundraising campaign for a fleet of naval drones. Its main task is to protect the water area of Ukrainian seas and peaceful cities from cruise missiles launched by Russian troops from ships. The fleet will also help unblock the corridor for civilian ships transporting grain for the whole world.
Since February 24, the Russian army has fired more than 4,500 missiles against Ukraine. Every fifth of them was launched from the sea. Ukraine had nothing to oppose the aggressor with, as the Ukrainian fleet lost 80% of its ships after the occupation of Crimea in 2014.
But on October 29, 2022, the first naval attack in history was carried out exclusively by unmanned means. Naval drones attacked the Russian fleet in Sevastopol. They hit three ships of the Russian Federation, in particular the Admiral Makarov flagship. Russia has lost its undeniable advantage at sea.
After these events, the President of Ukraine announced the formation of a special fleet: "We will accumulate funds for a fleet of naval drones. I think absolutely everyone understands what it is and what it is for, and I am sure that millions of people will support such a direction of our defense. Everyone has already seen how it works. And this is only for the protection of our marine area - we do not claim what’s not ours."
Commander of the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksiy Neizhpapa emphasized that the Russian fleet is constantly terrorizing peaceful Ukrainian cities.
"The appearance of a hundred multipurpose naval vehicles will consolidate the success of the Navy after the sinking of the Moskva cruiser and the recapture of Zmiinyi Island, and will enable us to better protect both the sea and the entire territory of the country. They can participate in long-range reconnaissance, surveillance of coastal activity, escort and support of the conventional fleet, convoying merchant ships, adjusting missile strikes and artillery, protecting our bases and countering amphibious operations. Such naval drones have already proven their effectiveness and can significantly change the situation in the Black Sea," said Oleksiy Neizhpapa.
The naval drone is a unique and classified Ukrainian development. One such device costs UAH 10 million. The price includes: a drone equipped with an autopilot system, video subsystems, including night vision, special communication protected from the influence of enemy electronic warfare equipment, backup communication modules and a combat unit, as well as a ground autonomous control station, transportation and storage systems, and a data processing center.
The fundraising will be worldwide, and the funds for the first ten drones are planned to be collected in one day.
"Donors from 110 countries help Ukraine through United24. We see how during the six months of the platform's operation, the number of those who support the "Defense and Demining" direction has been constantly growing. People all over the world understand that for the victory of Ukraine, it is necessary to strengthen our army. Naval drones can significantly change the situation in the waters of the Black Sea. Small and fast, they are capable of successfully attacking Russian ships worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Hence, they can fulfill the key task - force these ships to stay in the bay for fear of getting hit. In this war of technologies, Ukraine is once again demonstrating its ingenuity," stressed Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine.