Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has inspected drone production facilities in the central part of the country, where he was shown new types of unmanned aircraft and new materials that make them more resilient to attacks and other types of impact.
In a statement on Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that Shoigu had visited several defense enterprises in the Udmurtian Republic to review how the state order for the production of reconnaissance and attack drones is being fulfilled.
At the Kalashnikov plant, which recently began supplying the army not only with small arms, but also with drones, Shoigu was told that since 2022 the company had increased output by 60%, with the expectation that this figure would grow by several times.
The minister was also shown new composite materials that make UAVs much more durable. At the Zala Aero drone company, Shoigu reviewed new types of unmanned aircraft that have been improved based on experience gained during the Ukraine conflict.
Shoigu emphasized the army’s need for guided surface-to-air missiles, a reference to recurring Ukrainian rocket and drone attacks into Russian territory, many of which have targeted civilian areas.
“All critical infrastructure and economic facilities – oil, gas, processing facilities – must be protected with this weapon,” Shoigu said.
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Shoigu convened a meeting with industry leaders where he complimented them on meeting most targets set a year ago. However, he signaled that much work remains to be done, particularly when it comes to targeting and guidance problems that have become apparent as the Ukraine conflict has unfolded.
Other challenges, Shoigu added, include combating first-person-view (FPV) drones, improving electronic warfare measures, and using artificial intelligence.
Russian, Ukrainian, and Western experts agree that drone warfare has come to play an increasingly important role, with this type of arms extensively used to prosecute and repel Kiev’s botched counteroffensive last year. The New York Times reported last month, citing Ukrainian troops, that Kiev’s forces felt that it “has never been so dangerous” to be near the frontline, with Russia using FPV drones to hunt down individual targets and coordinate artillery fire.
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