“We need to ask the soldiers on the front line”

Sergey Valchenko

Sometimes it is better to remain silent than to say something “not at the cash desk”. The head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS), Dmitry Shugaev, apparently forgot this simple rule of the leader. In Samarkand, he told journalists who caught him that “we have no problem with drones.” For some reason, this statement angered many military experts who are well acquainted with the situation in the zone of the special military operation in Ukraine.
“We have the best drones. We have the most wonderful drones,” said Shugaev (quoted by RIA Novosti). And when asked if there were enough of them, he said that “we have enough of everything.”
In fact, so much has been said and written recently about the lack of reconnaissance and attack unmanned aerial vehicles of domestic design that even grandmothers in the market and schoolchildren know that there is a problem with them.
If it weren’t for it, then Chinese civilian Mavik quadrocopters would not be bought by volunteers all over the country to be sent to Donbass. The topic of the supply of drones from Iran, which, as it turned out, had long surpassed the Russian aviation industry in the development and mass production of kamikaze drones, would not have been discussed so actively.
So the words of the head of a respected department caused indignation among many. So, the Wings of War Telegram channel, which specializes in military aviation issues, reacted as follows: “Maybe it’s worth it … to get to the NVO zone ( special military operation. – “MK” ) and chat with different fighters and commanders on the ground? At the same time, bring them “Maviks” ( Chinese quadrocopters. – “MK” ), in the sense of ours, domestic ones. With which there are no problems and which are the best. And spare, please. Not only the citizens of Russia donate to them as part of the fees. And then a press release is mandatory so that everyone knows and is proud of.
Military blogger Andrei Medvedev, not without irony, wrote: “Comrade Shugaev, head of the FSMTC, is certainly right. Russia has no problem with drones, perhaps because they simply do not exist in sufficient numbers.”
According to Andrey Medvedev, many drones exist “in a single copy, and all their functionality is to roam from exhibition to exhibition.” “So how can they have problems, arise if the item is missing?”
At the same time, the blogger made a reservation: “I think that the official’s words could actually be taken out of context. Or he was misunderstood. If everyone understood correctly, and everything is fine with the context, then he probably knows something that is unknown to us.
As an example of the strong lag of the Russian aviation industry in terms of strike drones, the expert cited the American multi-ton reconnaissance and strike drone MQ-9A Reaper, which has been used by the US army for more than 20 years. Russia has no existing analogues.
In turn, military expert Ilya Kramnik criticized those who compare the MQ-9A Reaper with the multi-ton Russian Altair, which has not been brought to the series. He recalled that the developed Altair is designed for engines developed by RED aircraft GmbH, Adenau, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Due to sanctions, these engines will not be available. There are no engines of this kind.
“That’s all I can say about the power plant of the Altair UAV in particular and its prospects in general,” Kramnik concluded.
The telegram channel NerV (Communications and Technologies of Modern Wars) also commented on the situation with drones:
“The reason for such statements is not clear, but I would love to see such a “report” somewhere on the front line.”
Military blogger Sergey Kolyasnikov agrees with him in his Telegram channel: “The fighters on the front line, who are waiting for UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), and the volunteers who take them there in hundreds, are watching everything that happens with particular interest. These copters are certainly not the best in the world, they are Chinese. Iranian ones are still flashing at the front. There are also domestic ones, yes. Rare as diamonds.
The well-known military expert Vladlen Tatarsky, regarding Russian drones, calls the main problem – their shortage. Their saturation in the troops must be increased by an order of magnitude. In the meantime, it is difficult to compensate for the combat losses of UAVs with new devices.
Perhaps the stormy reaction on social networks to the words about drones will also be beneficial. At least once again, attention has been drawn to an obvious problem. It still needs to be resolved.