Game of Drones: The aerial drones, seen for years as a deficient branch of the Russian Army, return with force
The Russian terrestrial remote-controlled robots are at the forefront of other countries, but their unmanned aircraft have been considered inferior to their foreign competitors for years. The Deputy Minister of Defense revealed the current status of three ambitious projects, aimed at overcoming the technological backwardness in this area. US military analysts have repeatedly warned that their 'likely rivals', especially China, but also Russia, are making progress on their unmanned aircraft projects, and that soon the Pentagon's total supremacy in this area would be challenged. The recent statements of the Russian deputy defense minister, Yuri Borisov, published on the agency's website, confirm this theory. According to the high military charge, the Russian Defense is in the final stages of the trials of three projects: Korsar, Orion and Altius.
The Korsar reconnaissance and ground attack drone has been premiered in this year's Victory Parade, which in itself points to the availability of the apparatus for mass production and its actual use. The Korsar, a relatively small aircraft of six meters and 200 kilos, has flight autonomy of 10 hours and a range of 160 kilometers . "The Korsar performs all the operational tasks associated with the drones, it is a very 'cool' device, it has just finished tests, and the Defense is going to acquire it in series," the Russian deputy minister said. The drone will be used for reconnaissance missions or to target high precision artillery and weapons units, but it is also capable of carrying modern antitank missiles for eventual combat missions. The Russian reconnaissance and combat drone Orion was developed as an analogue of the American MQ-9 Reaper, and was even inspired by its aerodynamic design. In many ways, the creation of this device has been crucial for the Russian aviation industry. The manufacturing company states that many of the technologies needed for the project simply did not exist in Russia , and were developed in an autonomous way, since importing them was not an available option either. "This year we finished the tests and put our requests to the manufacturer, it is already a very serious device for operational missions, and will be able to carry 450 kilos of payload and remain in the air for up to 30 hours," Borisov reported. The designation of the heavy class strategic drone is known by the name of Altair, the apparatus, first of its kind for Russia and also with considerable differences in its design of foreign projects, measuring 12 meters long and weighing five tons. With the ability to fly at heights of 12,000 meters and at distances of up to 10,000 kilometers for 48 hours, the Altair will provide the Russian Army with unprecedented reconnaissance capabilities and combat missions, to date perhaps only available to the United States . "I think that during this year we will finish testing the heavy drone Altius, capable of carrying up to two tons of payload," the deputy defense minister said.
Borisov commented only on the projects directly requested and monitored by the Defense. In addition, several Russian companies are working on drone projects for civil or military use on their own. For example, Kronstadt, Kalashnikov and Helicopters of Russia have ongoing projects in this field. Thus, it can be seen that the technological gap between Russia and the United States, Israel and China in terms of aerial drones is on track to close.