The Russian state agency TASS reveals the development of an advanced “flying wing” drone by Russia, intended for special military operations in Ukraine.
Deployment of the new drone on the battlefield
The Vostok Design Office, responsible for this innovation, has indicated that the drone will have an approximate wingspan of 3 meters. Its first test flight is expected to be in February 2024.
The name of this new air unit is kept secret. Its main functions will be surveillance and increasing the precision of artillery fire. Additionally, it will be integrated with the Scalpel loitering munition, a kamikaze drone, to verify the successful hitting of targets.
Vostok experts indicate that the drone will be able to stay in flight for up to six hours, with a payload of up to 4 kg and a range of autonomy of 100 km.
Scalpel Loitering Ammunition Analysis
Recently, it was reported that the Russian military had received 15 units of the Scalpel kamikaze drone, a variant of the Lancet UAV with different technical specifications.
Several theories exist about how the new drone will collaborate with the Scalpel. One possibility is that it adjusts the trajectory of the Scalpel, which would indicate that the latter lacks advanced cameras or sensors.
Another hypothesis is that the “flying wing” drone could modify the objective of the Scalpel. This would suggest that the Scalpel relies on interaction with other drones for data transmission.
The possibility of the Scalpel operating with artificial intelligence and minimal human intervention is also being considered, although Vostok has not confirmed this. The Scalpel could search for predefined targets based on algorithms.
Civil applications and economic advantages of the new drone
This development not only benefits the Northern Military District but is also seen as a useful tool in the oil and gas sector and for the Ministry of Emergency Situations. It will be used in tasks such as expanded surveillance and patrolling.
Vostok highlights that the new drone will be a cheaper alternative compared to current options. The organization emphasizes its commitment to the creation of low-cost aircraft.