Russia will develop unmanned helicopters for the army and fleet

WARSAW, (BM) – The Russian Ministry of Defense has commissioned the development of unmanned reconnaissance and attack helicopters that will be able to operate within a radius of 20-30 km and cooperate with manned machines, such as the modernized Ka-52M, learned citing Defence24.

Read more: Russian attacking drone S-70 Okhotnik struck at militants positions in Syria – sources

The project is being carried out by the Central Research Institute of the Air Force of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Similar tasks were set in the rotorcraft program for the navy.

Information on research and development projects implemented by the Central Research Institute of the Air Force appeared during the Army-2020 forum in August this year. in Moscow and were confirmed during the recently concluded HeliRussia-2020 exhibition.

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation has defined the requirements for two separate projects whose requirements for the machine are very similar, but their equipment and armament are to be different.

“The unmanned helicopter is being developed to cooperate with the aviation of the land forces. It is planned to conduct joint combat operations of manned and unmanned helicopters that will perform reconnaissance and strike missions” reported representatives of the Air Force Central Research Institute during the Defense Industry Forum Army-2020 be a machine with a take-off weight estimated at 2.5-3 tons, which will be able to cooperate with land-based manned helicopters at the tactical level with a radius of 30 km, but no information on flight endurance requirements is available.

The machine will be equipped with optoelectronic and radar surveillance systems as well as guided weapons. The main applications are recognition and detection, identification and destruction of selected targets in cooperation with manned helicopters.

Read more: Russian UAVs and weapons with AI have been used in Syria

This plan is compatible with the ongoing work aimed at enabling Ka-52M helicopters to cooperate and control unmanned aerial vehicles similar to those deployed on the American AH-64E Apache Guardian machines. The armament of the new unmanned aerial vehicles will be the same types of missiles as manned helicopters, i.e. Ataka with a range of 10 km and Hermes-A with twice the range.

The Russian Navy is also considering introducing in-flight unmanned helicopters to increase range and target detection efficiency. Experts from the Air Force Central Research Institute emphasize that currently the range of water-to-water and water-to-ground missiles significantly exceeds the detection capabilities of surface units. It is necessary to raise the sensors higher to increase the radar horizon, or to move them by several to several dozen kilometers towards the enemy forces.

Difficult weather conditions, which would make it impossible for lighter machines to start, are also important. In this role, unmanned helicopters with a mass of at least 1-2 tons, enabling the transfer of high-performance sensors to the appropriate distance and operation in rain, snow or gusty winds, are to prove themselves.

Currently, there are machines in service that are too light to operate in difficult weather conditions and achieve the required parameters. Among them is the Horizon-100, the license version of the popular Camcopters S-100 machine, and the VRT300 helicopter developed by Russian Helicopters, VR Tech 350, tested in arctic conditions.

It is very likely that, following the path already cleared by the US Navy with the MQ-8 Fire Scout project, the Russians will use the already existing manned helicopter as a base. It is not excluded that a new machine will be created, derived from earlier projects.

Read more: Russia’s drone “Hunter” has conducted a secret mission against US air defense system

Russian military has declassified the latest attacking UAV ‘Thunder’

The Russian high-tech company “Kronshtadt” has begun to develop a promising attack drone “Thunder”, as we reported in August this yesr. The project will be presented at the military-technical forum “Army-2020”, which will be held in the city of Kubinka.

According to materials published on the forum’s website, the unmanned aerial vehicle will be the wingman in conjunction with the manned attack aircraft. “Thunder” is designed to detect and destroy enemy air defense systems, hitting surface targets and ground targets in depth with high-precision weapons, as well as to perform reconnaissance operations.

The drone is 13.8 meters long, 3.8 meters high and has a wingspan of 10 meters. It is assumed that the device will have a take-off weight of up to 7 tons and can carry a load weighing up to 2 tons. Other characteristics of “Thunder” are still unknown, as well as the fact that the developers are planning to show at the forum “Army-2020”.

At the moment, Russia is also developing a heavy attack unmanned vehicle S-70 “Okhotnik”, which is being created by the “Sukhoi” holding. Its main task is to escort the Su-57 fighter and execute the pilot’s commands. If we compare the known characteristics of these two drones, then the “Thunder” is inferior to the “Hunter” in size.

Read more: Russia Tests a New Onboard AI System on Mi-28N Attack Helicopter

China began testing its first unmanned helicopter

The first Chinese unmanned helicopter AR500C, designed for operations at high altitude, first took off. According to Defense World on May 25 this year, in the future, Beijing will be able to use UAVs of this type when patrolling the border with India.

The device AR500C was developed by the Chinese state corporation AVIC (Aviation Industry Corporation of China). The first flight took place at the base in Poyang (Jiangxi Province, East China). Tests included several types of maneuvers, including hovering, movement in horizontal and vertical planes.

“The test flight of the AR500C occurred at a time when tensions on the border between China and India intensified,” said the Chinese publication Global Times. The situation escalated after Chinese forces strengthened border control measures and took the necessary steps in response to the “illegal construction of defense facilities in India in the Galvan Valley region.”

The developers claim that the practical ceiling of the AR500C reaches 6,700 meters. The drone can be in the air for up to five hours. Its maximum speed is 170 km / h. The maximum take-off weight is 500 kg.

The main purpose of an unmanned helicopter is reconnaissance and relay communications. But, as representatives of AVIC indicate, when equipped with additional equipment, the device can perform electronic warfare tasks, strike at ground targets, monitor nuclear and chemical pollution, and deliver cargo.

Read more: Even America doesn’t have the newest Apache 6 helis. The first batch goes to Qatar


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