Russian Helicopters has received 5 billion rubles ($160 mln) from the federal budget for the development of three types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). After charging that smaller domestic developers wasted public funds – and pointedly purchasing Israeli drones for military trials – the Defense Ministry has switched to a big holding with sufficient capacity to develop and produce indigenous UAVs.
According to the Gazeta.ru portal, the company has been contracted by the Russian Defense Ministry to develop light-, medium-, and heavy-weight rotary UAVs for reconnaissance, strike and transportation purposes.
A prototype of a short-range drone, Ka-135, with carrying capacity of up to 100 kg, must be developed by 2015. A heavy-weight UAV, dubbed Albatros, is expected to be developed by 2017. It can be used as a strike or transport drone.
The most recent contract envisions the development of a medium-weight UAV with operational range of up to 300 km.
If successful, Russian Helicopters may receive additional funding in the future to develop two more types of UAVs to be delivered to the military and police.