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Ukrainian officials invite and encourage defense manufacturers to test their new ideas and developments on the battlefield. According to the officials, Russia is more agile than the West perceives it to be, and in a future conflict with the state, the west should be able to hold its own ground.
This is the “right time,” one Ukrainian military official said, “to find weaknesses and to determine solutions and how to deal with Russian [electronic warfare] systems. Because, in the future, you will have the same problem.”
Beyond the requests for fighter jets and ATACMS missiles, Ukrainians at the Special Air Warfare Symposium said that they are looking for attack helicopters and smaller items such as jam-resistant drones, electronic warfare equipment, and newer night vision goggles.
They also urgently want satellite communications options beyond the Starlink terminals produced by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, according to reports by defenseone.com. Though Starlink continues to provide invaluable service, the terminals have various tactical limitations.
Close to 31 percent, or $23.5 billion, of the $78.8 billion that the United States has awarded to Ukraine has been in the form of weapons and other pieces of military equipment. But most US contractors have been reluctant to send support personnel into the country. Exceptions include IT contractors such as Palantir.
The Ukrainian officials emphasized that weapons makers have a one of a kind opportunity to refine products in Ukraine against a real, high-tech adversary.
“This is the right time to test all equipment in Ukraine because it will be combat proofed” one said. Compared to previous conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan, “This is totally different way of war which we have right now.”
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