Scientist : The Russian aircraft industry is seriously lagging behind the world leaders in the field of heavy attack drones. Russia in this segment is far ahead of the United States, China, as well as countries such as Turkey and Iran. The reasons for the backlog were named by the participants of the round table meeting, which was held online by the international discussion club Valdai.
Thus, Vasily Kashin, Director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, noted that Russia entered the race of unmanned technologies with a slight delay, which was caused by two important factors: the systemic crisis in the country in the 90s and the military underestimation of the importance of new weapons.
“At the moment when there was a powerful breakthrough in the direction of aerial drones, the Soviet Union collapsed, which led to a systemic crisis throughout the territory of the newly formed Russian Federation,” the expert said. – The national defense lacked the resources to develop some fundamentally new projects. Almost everything that we then researched or produced was made on the basis of Soviet technologies.
The scientist said that unmanned vehicles were developed back in the USSR. For example, the Tu-143 “Flight” and Tu-243 devices. “Of course, at that time there was no talk of any in-flight control,” the expert noted. – All they did was fly according to a program prescribed for them in advance, shooting at several points along the route, and at the end they landed by parachute at the location of their troops. By the way, these drones are still used today: for example, the Ukrainian army used them in the conflict in Donbass.”
More modern drones, such as the Stroy-P complex with the Pchela-1T remotely piloted aircraft, appeared on the order of the Airborne Forces in the USSR shortly before its collapse. But then the constitutional structure of the state changed and a deep systemic crisis ensued.
“In addition, we still had a serious problem with understanding this technology by the military,” said Kashin. “Not only were the requirements and requests from the armed forces for a new type of equipment formulated very late, they were also completely unrealistic.”
An unclearly worded order from the military in the “zero” years and a number of erroneous decisions on the first drone projects caused a serious backlog in this area. Things started to move in the right direction only ten years ago.
Nevertheless, according to Vasily Kashin, unmanned aircraft are good precisely because they allow you to quickly catch up, unlike, for example, modern fighters that are difficult to manufacture, the development and production of which can take several decades. That is, the Russian aviation industry has a chance to catch up.