Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov on Aug. 19 explained the advantages of a satellite of the Finnish ICEYE company, which was purchased by Serhiy Prytula Charitable Foundation for Ukraine’s Army.
Reznikov wrote on Facebook that the defense forces of Ukraine had received “qualitatively new opportunities” thanks to the satellite.
He told how Prytula had offered to spend the money on raised other needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine after Turkey’s Baykar drone company had decided to send three drones to Ukraine for free.
Reznikov noted the ministry’s specialists, together with the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Ukrainian intelligence, had analyzed the situation and had chosen the best option, which “will allow our army to move up several levels.”
According to the minister, Ukraine had emphasized in negotiations with partners since April that it needed long-range high-precision weapons, while a “tectonic shift” took place in June when Ukraine received multiple launch rocket systems and high-precision projectiles for artillery.
“In order to optimally use this new potential and plan operations, the military command needed to significantly increase intelligence capabilities not only at the tactical level, but also at the operational one,” Reznikov said.
The minister emphasized the data that Ukraine receives from partners comes mostly from optical satellites, which have their own technical limitations regarding operation at night and in poor visibility conditions, are transmitted with a certain delay and not from all directions important for the defenders of Ukraine.
He stressed the satellite, which could “see” at night and through clouds, would work around the clock for the benefit of Ukraine, while the Ukrainian army would start receiving data that was not available to it before.
“‘To purchase’ is not an exaggeration,” Reznikov said.
“It (the satellite) will acquire information for the defense needs of Ukraine as long as it physically exists and performs its functions. Secondly, access to a whole constellation of satellites was simultaneously acquired, our military will be able to use the database of their images for a year.
Thirdly, the decoding of the images will be organized in such a way that the data arrives as quickly as possible.”
He added that ICEYE’s satellite technologies are “real la-la land,” but their cost was too high and Ukraine’s General Staff and Military Intelligence did not even expect to be able to use them.
“Finally, thanks to Ukrainian entrepreneur Maksym Poliakov, it was possible during the negotiations to obtain such conditions that made the space dream come true,” Reznikov said.
“Our military and intelligence did not hide their joy. Every HIMARS, M270 or MARS II, as well as each gun or self-propelled gun with high-precision shells will be able soon to destroy the enemy more effectively.”
Serhiy Prytula Charitable Foundation said on Aug. 18 it had bought full access to a satellite for $16 million, collected as part of the People’s Bayraktar project.
An agreement with Finnish satellite company ICEYE will provide the Ministry of Defense with full access to all the capabilities of one of its satellites, which is already in orbit in this region.
This will allow the Armed Forces to obtain satellite imagery of critical areas at a high frequency.
Prior to that, Prytula, a Ukrainian TV presenter, together with Ukrainian blogger Ihor Lachenkov, raised the $16 million in just three days, originally to purchase three Bayraktar drones – but the raised money was enough for four.
The Bayraktar company stated on Twitter that it would not accept payment for these Bayraktar TB2 drones, and would send three of them to Ukraine for free.