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Russia’s Aerospace Forces to start receiving attack drones in 2021: Deputy commander

An EHang passenger drone. Photo: Handout. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MOSCOW, Aug 12, 2020, TASS. Combat unmanned aerial vehicles, capable of striking enemy positions with high-precision projectiles, will enter service with Russia’s Aerospace Forces next year, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Russia’s Aerospace Forces Lt. Gen. Sergei Dronov said, TASS reported.

“Next year, the troops will start receiving multi-purpose long-range unmanned aerial vehicles, capable not only of conducting aerial survey but also of striking enemy facilities with high-precision projectiles,” Dronov said in an interview with the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper.

In his words, the Russian troops currently have in service unmanned aerial vehicles of short and medium range.

According to Dronov, the use of combat unmanned aerial vehicles in Syria demonstrated their capacity to carry out high-precision strikes.

“The efficiency of unmanned aviation was confirmed during a special operation in the Syrian Arab Republic. The use of unmanned aerial vehicles ensured high-precision strikes to facilities of illegal armed groups,” the Russian military official said.

He went on to say that the extensive use of drones will help to reduce losses among the personnel.

In his words, the UAV fleet is used to solve a wide range of tasks (surveillance, attack, transportation and others), to boost the capacities of manned aircraft or in situations when the use of manned aircraft is limited or less efficient.

During the development of UAVs, special attention is paid to integrating them into a single system with manned aircraft, Dronov added.

Russia’s Okhotnik heavy attack drone developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau performed its debut flight on August 3, 2019. Russia’s Defense Ministry did not specify at the time the military aerodrome where the drone took off. The flight lasted over 20 minutes under an operator’s control. On September 27, 2019 the Okhotnik performed a flight together with a Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet. The drone maneuvered in the air in the automated mode at an altitude of around 1,600 meters and its flight lasted over 30 minutes.

The Okhotnik features stealth technology and the flying wing design (it lacks the tail) and has a take-off weight of 20 tonnes. The drone has a jet engine and is capable of developing a speed of around 1,000 km/h.

According to the data of Russia’s Defense Ministry, the drone has anti-radar coating and is outfitted with equipment for electro-optical, radar and other types of reconnaissance.

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