Russia formulates UAV development programme


Karl Soper, Washington, DC – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

Russia’s armed forces and ‘power’ ministries may procure hundreds of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by 2025 under a draft interdepartmental programme.

Most will be short-range UAVs needed in tactical units, according to an outline of the plan provided to Russian media.

The draft co-ordinates requirements for UAVs with measures needed to develop and produce them. It specifies schedules and financing for RDT&E, industrial capacity, serial production, and maintenance.

The UAV programme stresses development of domestic technologies and components, including high-strength composite airframes, highly efficient engines, electromagnetic and acoustic signature reduction, and jam-resistant data links and navigation.

“The programme envisions development of weapons systems for UAVs,” said Vega Radio Engineering Concern General Director Vladimir Verba. However, he did not indicate how they would be armed. Vega played a “leading role” in drafting the programme. It is a designer of radar and unmanned aerial systems and subsidiary of government-owned Russian Technologies (Rostec) acquired in early 2014.

Russian press reports stated that the UAV plan is currently with the Ministry of Industry and Trade. There is no indication when it will be adopted, but it could be approved by the Russian government in the next few months. UAV developments will be implemented as part of Russia’s state programme of armaments (GPV) for 2016-25. The GPV is supposed to be enacted in December with a budget of RUB30 trillion (USD490 billion).