Russia is making chopper UAVs, Medvedev showed their assembly site

Despite the challenges posed by economic sanctions on Russia’s economy, it’s apparent that Moscow is consistently finding ways to lessen their effect. Recently, a video circulating on social network X [previously known as Twitter] offers a fresh perspective on the production of military drones within the Russian Federation. 

Russia is making chopper UAVs, Medvedev showed their assembly site
Video screenshot

In the video, Dmitry Medvedev, the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, is seen touring a drone manufacturing facility. The facility is a component of the Rudnevo Industrial Park, an establishment overseen by both the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

Unmanned choppers

The video immediately grabs your attention, commencing with a tour of an unmanned helicopter assembly site. Right off the bat, we see a minimum of six choppers under construction, but as the footage continues, it’s clear that the production line is far more extensive. 

Although the video doesn’t specify the type of drone helicopters assembled, military expert Vijainder K Thakur offers a hypothesis. He proposes that the aircraft might be BAS-200 models. Primarily, these are civilian drones designed for urban aviation, deployed during disasters and accidents. However, Thakur believes that due to the conflict in Ukraine, Russia may have repurposed the BAS-200 for military use. 

In its adapted military guise, the BAS-200 could serve as an attack air vehicle. The drone boasts rotor wings and, according to its specs, it weighs in at approximately 185 kg with a payload of up to 50 kg. Consequently, Thakur asserts that the BAS-200 is potentially capable of ISR and strike missions. 

ISR missions would equip the BAS-200 with a laser target designator, making it possible to “mark” or lock onto Russian cruise missile targets. Furthermore, the drone’s flexibility allows for the attachment of an anti-tank missile system, meaning it could potentially launch attacks on heavily armored vehicles from the sky.

From possibility to reality

Vijainder K Thakur’s speculation appears to be on target, as backed up by the Russian news agency TASS in August. Substantiating this, Sergey Chemezov, the executive director of Rostech, made it clear that the Russian Federation has chosen the BAS-200 to be a part of their “special military operation” – which is their terminology for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Russia is making chopper UAVs, Medvedev showed their assembly site
Photo credit: Russian Helicopters

“Undoubtedly, this helicopter will take part in the special military operation. We’re currently carrying out tests. It promises to show remarkable abilities, especially considering its 50-kilogram payload capacity, which is impressive,” Chemezov stated confidently. 

Transitioning to the subject of tests, it’s worth highlighting a key point from Medvedev’s visit to Rudnevo. His words, captured on video, clarified that Rudnevo not only manufactures unmanned helicopters but also conducts its tests. This implies that the BAS-200 could drastically reduce the timeframe for standard state tests. Successful completion of these tests in Rudnevo would green-light it to be dispatched to frontline areas.

What is BAS-200?

In December 2022, the BAS-200, a domestic civilian unmanned helicopter, was issued a certificate by Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency. This innovative product was developed by the Mil and Kamov National Helicopter Center, which is a part of “Russian Helicopters”, a division within Rostec. 

Rostec states that the BAS-200’s capabilities lend themselves to a plethora of applications. It can be used for delivering goods, surveying territories for forestry, agriculture, and geology, executing search and rescue missions, and a range of other activities. 

This helicopter-modeled unmanned complex comprises two drones, a ground control station, and a transport vehicle for aircraft. What’s more, it boasts the ability to become flight-ready within just ten minutes. 

The BAS-200 establishes a milestone in Russian aviation as the first helicopter-modeled drone to be included in the registry of experimental aviation, part of a universal unmanned aerial vehicle platform. This robust piece of machinery can reach speeds of 160 kilometers per hour, ascend to heights of up to 3,500 meters, and support a payload of up to 50 kilograms. Plus, it can stay airborne for up to four hours in a single flight.

The facts

It’s evident from the data that Russia is ramping up its efforts in the world of drone manufacturing. A remarkable program was previously highlighted by BulgarianMilitary.com, which illustrated the sheer magnitude of this venture. The project involves no less than 20 Russian companies, all funded by the government, churning out an impressive thousands FPV drones daily. We previously showcased a video that gave insight into the production scale, testing procedures, and the training of Russian drone operators. 

There’s another significant detail that merits attention – despite disavowals from both Moscow and Tehran, a collaborative venture resulted in a factory on Russian soil, constructed with Iran’s assistance. We flagged this news even before the commencement of drone manufacturing at the site. Predominantly, the factory brings forth the infamous Iranian Shahed series drones, primarily the Shahed-136, rolling off the assembly line as Geran-2.

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