Georgia To Be Protected By Armed Drones

Georgia showed off its new domestically produced drone last week, a symbolic step in the development of the country’s nascent defense industry. But President Mikheil Saakashvili has much bigger plans for the country’s military-industrial complex, he has revealed, including an armed drone — by next year — and air defense systems.

Saakashvili laid out the plans in a speech at a state-run defense factory in Tbilisi, as reported by

“I am sure that if we work well we will make air defense system too,” he continued. “Yesterday when we tested unmanned [aerial vehicle], some thought it was a toy… Go and buy if you can such a ‘toy’, which can fly for eight hours, equipped with cameras capable to capture images at night,”

“From next year we will have similar [drone], but capable to carry arms… and it will be much more efficient then old Russian [ground] attack aircraft,” Saakashvili said.

Saakashvili, who invoked Singapore as a model for Georgia’s defense industry to follow, also said that the country was in “serious talks” about exporting its Didgori and Lazika armored vehicles.

At the same speech, though, Saakashvili said Georgia would also be relying on a lower-tech means of defense: a volunteer reserve force, which will grow from about 70,000 members this summer to 150,000 next year. Again, from

It means that each village will have its unit for self-defense and it is the firmest guarantee of peace, because Nazi Germany refused to enter into Switzerland, because Switzerland was the only European country, which had a reserve system. Some people, including a foreign diplomat may say: ‘study this reserve system better and discuss this issue for a longer time’. In 2008 we saw well that we need territorial defense and nobody will do our job instead of us,” Saakashvili said.

“We have started establishing a reserve system anew. We have received a phenomenal result. It irritates our enemy and its Georgian agents, so called politicians very much. In each village where the Defense Ministry has entered, all adult men enrolled in reserve forces. It is an astonishing result,” he said.

The mention of “enemy agents” is apparently referring to a representative of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s opposition movement, who earlier claimed that Saakashvili is setting up “paramilitary groups” to cement his grip on power. That may be going a bit far, but it does seem that Saakashvili might be using the alleged threat from Russia for domestic political purposes. There really has been a lot of publicity recently about defense issues, both in relation to ties with the U.S. and its domestic capacity. This, while there is little apparent threat from Russia. With parliamentary elections this year and presidential elections next year, it’s a tried and true tactic for an incumbent government to prioritize security concerns over other issues. Is that what’s going on here?

Gary Mortimer

Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.