Ukraine is testing its Vilkha rocket-guidance system.
New state testing of the Vilkha was carried out this month, as Ukraine prepares to put the rocket-guidance system into production for procurement by its military. The testing was carried out in Ukraine’s Kherson region.
Vilkha is believed to be a precision-guidance system for rockets fired from the 9K58 Smerch multiple-launch rocket system. In addition to improving the rockets’ accuracy, Vilkha is believed to provide extended range, though exact specifications are not certain. Ukraine first referenced the system in 2016.
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine said in a press release on the trials, “The testing was attended by President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, military leaders, experts and military attaches from seven world countries, who expressed their interest in holding talks on the purchase of new powerful Ukrainian weaponry.”
Ukraine’s priority is on provision of the system to its own military. Vilkha could start entering service in 2019.
In a statement on his social media page, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said, “I instructed to begin mass production of the missile in 2018.”
He added, “Why is it so important? Not only because the Ukrainian army will finally get a high-precision weaponry that will substantially increase the efficiency of the Armed Forces of Ukraine units, but also because the Vilkha missile is fully made of Ukrainian details. Nobody can hinder us in producing this high-precision weaponry.”
The Ukrainian defense industry has sought to replace Russian-origin components in its military hardware, to ensure the military’s systems can be maintained and upgraded as necessary.