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Future of drone industry: Insights from the Ukrainian Drone Defence Forum

On May 21, 2024, the Royal United Services Institute in London hosted the Ukrainian Drone Defence Forum, which brought together the global drone industry. Over 100 defence professionals gathered to showcase their products, solutions, and innovations and discuss the future of drone production.

Our Investment Director, Daria Yaniieva, joined a panel discussion with military & business representatives from Ukraine and abroad, including Haluk Bayraktar, CEO of Baykar Technologies. The panel was moderated by Evelyn Buchatskiy, Managing Partner of D3 Defence Tech Fund, and focused on the current and future ways of collaboration worldwide towards more efficient development of the industry. It also covered international changes in the legal and financial sectors needed to simplify compliance procedures, import/export rules, production cycles, etc.

Daria Yaniieva, Investment Director at Sigma Software Labs, Drone Defence Forum, May 21st, 2024

A lot of attention was paid to the Ukrainian drone industry, which showcased its developments and innovations. Over the past six months, Ukraine has increased UAV production by 900%, and currently, 62 types of unmanned systems are being produced in the country according to the WSJ. Companies such as Kvertus, AeroDrone, and Airlogix demonstrated technologies that save lives on the battlefield.

Kateryna Bezsudna, Co-founder and COO of Buntar Aerospace, Drone Defence Forum, May 21st, 2024

The highlight of the Drone Demo was a pitch by Kateryna Bezsudna, Co-founder and COO of Buntar Aerospace and co-founder and COO of the Defence Builder Accelerator, which we have recently launched together with tier-1 Ukrainian companies. She presented the startup Buntar 1, a long-range reconnaissance UAV that recently received $1 million in funding. The drone is equipped with specialized software for automated mission planning and an AI-based navigation system that works without GPS.

According to McKinsey, based on the announced spending plans, the defence budgets of European countries are expected to increase by 700-800 billion euros between 2022 and 2028. Despite only a few years of active development, Ukraine is already defining future solutions for global Defence Tech services. Forums such as this one help our manufacturers and founders gain new exposure and contacts, demonstrate their potential to the global community, and facilitate new joint business opportunities. 

“The shifted war paradigm highlights a lack of technologies designed for real combat missions in modern warfare and changes the landscape of the whole industry towards smart solutions. Events like the Ukrainian Drone Defence Forum are now more important than ever, serving as a vital platform for collaboration, innovation, and the synergy of resources and approaches. Together, we’re finding new ways to protect our countries and make the world safer for everyone,”

says Daria Yaniieva.

By taking part in the Forum, we aimed to strengthen business ties between countries in the defence field, share experience with international colleagues, and create new business opportunities for global advanced solutions development towards a peaceful future.

The official partner of the event was Sigma Software.