Russia Develops Bird-Like Drone For Reconnaissance Missions

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On February 6, Russia will unveil its latest, bird-like unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at the Zhukovsky-Gagarin Air Force Academy on the occasion of Innovations Day. According to Russia’s Defense Ministry, this bird-like drone has been designed for reconnaissance missions and will secure “a safe ornithological situation during flights at the aerodrome.”

Various institutes, departments, and private companies from Russia are taking part in the Innovations Day event, according to Russian news agency Tass. The participants will share information about their projects and demonstrate the latest developments in the field of robotics, UAVs, weapons, information technology, and airborne radio-electronic equipment. In addition to the bird-like drone, other major highlights of the event include a robotic mines detection system and an infrared-based system for automatic landing of small aircrafts.

For the past few years, Russia has been trying to develop a wide range of UAVs for use in different scenarios. Last month, Russian newspaper Izvestia reported that Russia is working on a mysterious unmanned strike drone belonging to the same general class as the General Atomics Avenger. According to Izvestia, a contract for this drone was awarded to the Simonov Design Bureau. This unmanned vehicle will feature a turbojet engine to give it speeds of 600 mph, about two times more than the speed of similar propeller drones. This drone is also expected to be equipped with intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities so that it could be used in moderately contested airspace.

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Last month, a leaked draft of the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review confirmed that Russia has developed an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) capable of carrying nuclear warheads. According to the Defense News, details about this AUV appeared in a chart (of the draft) describing multiple nuclear delivery vehicles currently possessed by Russia.

The AUV has been built by Russia’s Rubin Design Bureau, as reported by the Defense News. It has been given the nickname “Kanyon” by the Pentagon, although its official name is Ocean Multipurpose System Status-6. The drone is believed to have a range of 6,200 miles and a maximum speed of about 56 knots. According to some reports, it was first tested in 2016.

The Pentagon’s leaked draft also notes that Russia is currently working to enhance the number of platforms that could be armed with conventional or nuclear payloads in the future. The draft reiterates the need for a proven nuclear triad for the U.S.