Russia's leading manufacturer of helicopters, Russian Helicopters, is developing several types of unmanned aircraft in accordance with the decision of the Defense Ministry. Two years ago, the ministry spent quite a lot on the purpose - $55 million. Now they want the Russian producer to get involved. Does Russia have necessary technologies for it?
Afterwards, there was another contract signed for the delivery of 36 unmanned drones - $100 million. In April 2010, it was reported that Russia was purchasing 15 more drones from Israel.
Russia's Defense Ministry does not mind purchasing more unmanned aircraft, but the relations between Israel and the USA did not let the plans materialize. Moscow then offered Israel to build a plant to make Israeli drones in Russia. In addition, Russian officials addressed to several European countries in an attempt to purchase unmanned aircraft from them. For example, Russia bought several drones from Austria. To crown it all, Gorizont, a Russian company, assembles Austrian S-100 drones in the city of Rostov-on-Don.
However, Russian Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin stated in January of this year that the country could purchase arms from foreign countries only in exceptional cases.
It appears that unmanned aircraft refer exactly to such cases. The orders to Russian defense enterprises are supposed to symbolize serious intentions of the Russian government to catch up and surpass competitors in the field of the creations of future generations of weapons. Unlike Israeli aeroplane-type unmanned aircraft, it goes about the helicopter-type drones.
The heavy unmanned helicopter Albatros appears to be the most interesting project from the point of view of combat actions of the future. The helicopter weighing up to three tons, is designed by Russian Helicopters. This aircraft, the trial model of which is to be built in 2017, can be used as an attack or transport helicopter that will not require pilot's presence for performing specific tasks.
Under the order from the Defense Ministry, the company is working on the short-range drone with the takeoff mass of 300 kilos. The project is known as Ka-135, formerly known as "Roller." Trial models are to be built by 2015, Gazeta.Ru said.
At the end of 2011, Russian Helicopters received a third order to design Ka-175 unmanned chopper with the takeoff mass of 700 kilos and the range of up to 300 kilometers.
According to the publication, the ministry assigned five billion rubles within the scope of the state defense order. It is not ruled out that the company will receive the orders for two other projects, the details of which have not been unveiled yet. Officials with the Russian company evaluate the works in the amount of 10 billion rubles in total by 2020.
It is worthy of note that Russian infrastructure and natural monopolies may also act as consumers of new technological developments. However, they prefer to use aeroplane-type drones to control remote objects and lengthy communication systems. Nevertheless, officials with the holding say that enterprises of the domestic energy industry may need approximately 250 drones by 2025. In general, the global demand on this type of aircraft may reach 7,000 units.
Thus, Russian Helicopters have something to struggle for, taking into consideration remarkable positions of the company in the field of manned aircraft, the majority of which enjoy the reputation of "best in the world."