Russia’s armed forces plan to integrate hundreds of drones, known as unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, by 2025 to serve a variety of functions in military operations, according to a report. The Kremlin has ordered extensive military exercises and shown a commitment to the redevelopment of its military after Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to spend trillions of rubles to revamp Russia’s armed forces within the next decade.
The unmanned aerial vehicles will be produced domestically through collaboration between Russia’s largely state-owned defense industry and JSC Vega Radio Engineering, a company that specializes in surveillance devices. It’s unclear when the first of the drones will be ready for deployment.
“By 2025, as a result of implementation of [new] measures, the government will get several hundred modern, Russian-made unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs] of various types. Most of them will be drones used for short ranges, the most needed in [Russian] armed forces,” an official from Russia’s United Industrial Corporation told a Russia news service, according to state-owned Sputnik News.
Over the last few months, Russia has extended its long-range bomber patrols to reach as far as the Arctic Ocean and conducted land, sea and air training exercises around the world. The uptick in military activity has led Western nations, including members of the European Union and the NATO military alliance, to express concern about Russian aggression, particularly amid the Kremlin’s purported intervention in the eastern Ukraine conflict that has killed more than 6,000 people since early 2014.
Putin has ordered hundreds of thousands of military personnel to participate in the military drills. Russia’s president said the Kremlin would spend more than 21 trillion rubles ($340 billion) to revamp the nation’s military by 2020, Reuters reported in March. Moscow recently announced plans to create a “self-sufficient” diversified military force in the Arctic by 2018. The Russian navy’s Northern Fleet conducted readiness drills in April that included its first use of unnamed underwater drones.