“Today they [drones] are used more and more widely in the world. We won’t do it the way other countries do. This is not a game, this is not a computer game, these are serious combat complexes both shock and reconnaissance ones, and it is absolutely clear that they have good prospects,” Vladimir Putin said on Thursday while opening a conference on the issues of the development of the Air Force.
The Head of State has also noted that in the framework of the state defense order, in 2013, the armed forces had received 86 aircraft and more than 100 helicopters. Next year, it is planned to deliver another 120 aircraft and 90 helicopters and, by 2020, the Air Force is to receive nearly 1.6 thousand units of new technical equipment. Thus, the proportion of new aircraft in the army should reach 70%.
The President has also demanded strict compliance with deadlines and the monitoring of aircraft production quality.
The Russian government is discussing a project to establish a new integrated body that will develop and produce unmanned aircraft systems, a source in the country’s defense industry said.
“If such initiatives are put into practice, this new structure, which can tentatively be called Bespilotprom, may appear on the basis of some corporation controlled by the state. It will include some state-owned industrial assets engaged in efforts to design and build advanced unmanned aircraft systems,” he said.
The main goal of this organization will be to “ensure better coordination as part of Russian-funded projects to develop new unmanned systems,” he added.
A Russian unmanned aircraft expert, Denis Fedutinov, questioned the feasibility of establishing an organisation that would specialize exclusively in unmanned aerial systems.
“The state already has plenty of instruments such as certain agencies that coordinate programs in the sphere of unmanned aircraft systems,” the expert said.
The Vega radio engineering company is Russia’s chief developer of unmanned aircraft, he said.
Vega, which was established in 2003, includes Moscow-based enterprises Kulon and Topaz, as well as the Luch Design Bureau, in the town of Rybinsk, Yaroslavl region.
In 2012, the Russian Defense Ministry formed a department responsible for R&D efforts towards unmanned aircraft projects.
The interdepartmental working group for unmanned aircraft systems under the auspices of the government’s Military Industrial Commission has been coordinating this work.
Another expert, who asked not to be named, said that the appearance of a state corporation specializing in unmanned aircraft would negatively impact competition among developers and producers of such systems.
It is known that several major privately owned enterprises, including the Tranzas Group of Companies, based in St. Petersburg, have started to design unmanned aircraft in recent years.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold two conferences on Thursday to continue the discussion of the modernization of the defense sector and the Armed Forces.
He will also listen to reports assessing the readiness of the facilities for the Sochi Olympic Games due in February 2014.
Sochi 2014 organizing committee head Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and Olympstroy officials will attend the conference.
Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said earlier that the presidential schedule would be traditionally busy for the next few days and the president would put the emphasis on the modernization of the Russian Armed Forces.
“Vladimir Vladimirovich has chosen a format with such a degree of detail and profoundness of content for the first time ever.
Two conferences will be held daily for the next three days,” Peskov told the press on Wednesday.
Putin held conferences with officials of various levels and civilian and military specialists on Wednesday.
The first conference was dedicated to the Strategic Rocket Forces and the second to high-precision weaponry of the Navy, including tactical missiles.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin will attend all of these conferences, Peskov said.
Voice of Russia, Interfax