The Russian armed forces will commission medium-range unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) for the first time in 2019, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced during a session of the State Duma’s defence committee on 11 March.
Shoigu noted that, since 2013, the Russian Army has equipped 38 units with more than 2,000 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The minister said that from 2019, the army would also receive medium-range attack and reconnaissance UAVs.
Russia has considerably lagged behind the West, especially the US and Israel, in UAV technology in general and UCAVs in particular. None of the UAVs in service with the Russian armed forces have been reported to have a strike capability but various UAVs have been extensively employed for battlefield reconnaissance and fire-control tasks.
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