Moscow: Russian paratrooper divisions will receive unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) within the next three to five years, a top military official said on Friday.
"UAV subdivisions already exist within the reconnaissance and special operations sections, in the artillery and the air-defence sections of the Airborne Forces. In line with accepted international practice, we intend to further develop the unmanned component of our forces," said Colonel-General Vladimir Shamanov, commander of the Airborne Forces.
He said it was the defence ministry`s decision to buy Israeli-produced drones that gave Russia the impetus to develop its own.
"Unfortunately, work to create our own UAVs immediately ran into lengthy delays. The Airborne Forces were, and will continue to provide a platform for experimentation in testing new forms of technology," Shamanov said.
In January, Shamanov oversaw tests on a prototype Russian-made compact reconnaissance complex, named Seeker.
Seeker comprises a base station carried in a rucksack, a tablet computer showing images from the drones` cameras which also serves as a control unit, and two T-4 unmanned aerial vehicles weighing 1.3 kg each.
With 40 minutes` endurance, they produce their optimum picture at an altitude of 200 metres, but have a service ceiling of 4,000 metres. They have electric motors and a wingspan of 0.6 metre. The approximate cost of the Seeker complex, with two drones, is about three million rubles (about $96,000).