MOSCOW: A new line of domestic drones was used for the first time at the Zapad-2021 exercise. Among them are the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) “pacer”, “Orlan-10”, “Outpost”. Earlier it became known that the Russian Ministry of Defense plans to equip Orion drones with a light multipurpose guided missile. Gazeta.Ru was trying to figure out why there are still no combat drones in the Russian army.
At the same time, the expert noted that the Russian army does not yet have combat drones equipped with weapons. In her arsenal are intelligence robots and complexes capable of blocking the ranges of the cellular networks of a conventional enemy in the near radius.
These are, for example, the Eleron-3 reconnaissance drone, designed for aerial photographic reconnaissance of objects, and the Forpost, developed on the basis of the Israeli IAI Searcher II drone.
“Real drones, vehicles capable of solving operational-tactical and strategic tasks, have just appeared in Russia. The Ministry of Defense is interested in them. The Ministry of Defense announced the purchase of the Orion and Sirius complexes. There is no doubt that these machines will be mass-produced. The Zapad-2021 exercises showed that the Ministry of Defense knows how to use them, ”Litovkin said.
However, the expert noted that today the weapons for these vehicles “are only theoretically available.”
Fight test did not pass
“It used to be difficult to develop ammunition because it was not clear what kind of drones would be. At the moment, ammunition manufacturers have ideas about drones, about their tactical capabilities, and accordingly, ammunition is being created, ”Litovkin said.
According to Ruslan Pukhov, a member of the public council under the Russian Ministry of Defense, director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies , Russia lags behind other countries in the creation of unmanned aerial vehicles, their use and export.
“So far, we have not seen a single Russian unmanned system in battle, only their use in exercises and at training grounds in Syria. The fact that Russia still does not have a significant number of UAVs in its troops is an absolutely unacceptable situation, ” Ruslan Pukhov told Gazeta.Ru.
“Unmanned aerial vehicles have acquired third world countries, and a number of countries that could in no way be called, until recently, the leading military-industrial powers. For example, Turkey and Iran. They already have attack drones, which they are successfully actively using in hostilities. We seem to have drones, but at the same time, the troops do not have them. And in Syria, we use them as an experiment, ”added Pukhov.
Shoot down drones in batches
Combat UAVs will eventually be able to significantly squeeze manned aircraft, and it is important for Russia not to miss this trend.
“A person makes mistakes when choosing solutions, his reaction is not as fast as a computer. The pilot’s life support system itself – an ejection seat, oxygen cylinders – weighs a lot. If you remove a person from the plane, then you can take more fuel and weapons. So the drone is lighter, harder to shoot down, and cheaper. But the main thing is that the loss of a pilot is always a tragedy. Society demands that the war be waged, ideally, with zero losses, ”said Ruslan Pukhov.
“An airplane can be made, but it is very difficult to train a person. Drones can be shot down in batches. The budget will suffer, but people will remain intact. The operators who manage them will draw conclusions and will be able to “start the game over”. Globally, it is cheaper and more efficient, ”Litovkin said.
At the same time, experts are confident that drones will not completely replace manned aircraft.
“Nobody will give up guided aviation. The same operator on the monitors sees a rather limited situation that occurs on the ground. The pilot can make a decision to change the conditions of the combat mission, – said Litovkin. – The drone operator is not always able to do this promptly and tragic mistakes occur.
For example, the Americans bombed wedding processions in Afghanistan. Intelligence reports that a caravan with weapons must pass there – they strike with drones, but it turns out that there were civilians there. The drone operator could not make a decision because he did not understand the situation at all. “
“The fact that the time of manned aviation has passed is a strong exaggeration,” Ruslan Pukhov agrees. “UAVs will conquer more and more space, but manned aircraft are reliable, flexible and convenient to use. Therefore, in the foreseeable future we will see a mix of robotic systems with manned systems. “