State-of-the-art unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) should enter service with the Russian air force by 2011, according to Lieutenant General Alexander Zelin, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force. Lieut. Gen. Zelin recently spoke with reporters about the new weapons the Russian military will receive in the near future.
The original development of UAVs started in the Soviet Union years ago. However, the projects could not be completed in the 1990s due to economic situation in Russia at the time. The line units of the Russian armed force have recently started to be equipped with the UAVs whose research and development stage began some 10-12 years ago.
Russian design bureaus are currently working on the development of UAVs to be used for a variety of purposes e.g. reconnaissance systems for target detection and recognition to relay targeting coordinates to manned reconnaissance and strike aircraft. Various types of UAVs including unmanned helicopters are being developed. The systems capable of flying independently up to 10-12 hours will be either air-launched or deployed into aircraft-type flight.
The cutting-edge Russian technologies and know-how are used for the development of the new types of UAVs.
Lieut. Gen. Zelin said that the Russian designers were laying special emphasis on the integration of digital technologies into the new systems. For example, the designers aim to ensure automated processing of mission objectives and independent flight capability using data provided by satellite navigation systems, and automated data gathering and processing.
In addition, Russia may soon develop a fifth-generation air defense missile system, which should greatly surpass the Russian S-400 missile system, which is currently being deployed. Besides, the new system will be capable of intercepting space-launched targets.
“While working on the S-400 missile system we appreciated the importance of developing a next-generation air defense system that should demonstrate greater mobility and maneuverability with improved characteristics when it comes to intercepting enemy aircraft and missiles,” said Lieut. Gen. Zelin. He specified that the new system’s improved characteristics would be achieved mostly thorough the upgrading of its main components.
“The fifth-generation missile system will enable the national air defense forces to effectively detect and intercept targets at an extended range. As a result, we will be able to deal with a broader range of objectives. For instance, we will be able to intercept space-launched targets,” Lieut. Gen. Zelin added.
Speaking about other new equipment that may be accepted into service by the Russian air force in the near future, Lieut. Gen. Zelin also informed that Russia and India were involved in active cooperation for building a transport aircraft of medium load-carrying capacity. Besides, designers are also working on Il-112, a light-load transport aircraft. Designers are also involved in preparation work for the development of a frontline aircraft complex and a long-term aircraft complex, Lieut. Gen. Zelin added.
Translated by Guerman Grachev