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Unmanned helicopters ‘baits’ were delivered to the Russian army

MOSCOW, (BM) – Unmanned helicopters ‘baits’ were delivered to the Russian army, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing the Polish agency Defence24. Rostec announced that it had provided the Russian Federation’s armed forces with the first batch of a new type of vertical take-off unmanned aerial vehicles to test new weapon systems’ effectiveness. Dinamika – AT was responsible for the development and implementation of machines with enigmatically marked KBLA-IWT.

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The newly introduced machines to the armed forces, obviously advertised as “having no counterpart,” are unmanned helicopters of classic design and take-off weight up to 300 kg. They are powering by an internal combustion engine and reach speeds of up to 135 km / h with a control range of up to 50 km. This is the residual information obtained about the helicopter that is part of the KBLA-IWT system.

The abbreviation expansion explains why the machine’s structure is as simple as possible, not to say crude. The full Russian name is Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Complex – Air Target Simulator.

Therefore, this machine’s task is to simulate targets such as combat helicopters and vertical take-off unmanned aerial vehicles during new weapons or train air defense systems. The system also includes a control station and equipment for ground handling, such as a wheeled chassis or a three-wheeled trolley to move the airframe on the ground.

In the announcement published by the Rostec concern, you can see at least ten machines, but there is no information about the number of systems delivered and the unit or research center they were given as well. However, Rostec reports KBLA-IWT was created under a contract, which concerned the development and implementation of this unmanned system. The project is funding by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

The manufacturer emphasizes that the system is easy to use and equipped with superior virtual solutions to facilitate training, which should not be surprising, as Dinamika-AT is known primarily for the production of flight simulators, for example, Ka-52 helicopters. The KBLA-IWT unmanned helicopter is, according to the manufacturer, an exciting and easy-to-use solution, e.g., for monitoring forest fires, agricultural plantings or transmission lines, and the transport of petroleum products. Therefore, a version offered to civilian customers and uniformed services is also planned.

Russia will develop unmanned helicopters for the army and fleet

The Russian Ministry of Defense has commissioned on September 20 this year 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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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