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Russian company reveals plan for $52-mn factory to mass-produce UAVs, as drones play bigger, more vital role in military ops

Russian company reveals plan for $52-mn factory to mass-produce UAVs, as drones play bigger, more vital role in military ops
A Russian company is building the country’s first-ever specialized factory solely for manufacturing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It plans to mass-produce military drones, like those deployed by the Russian Army in Syria.

The 45,000-square-meter plant, under construction in the town of Dubna near Moscow, will cost at least four billion rubles ($52 million) and will create jobs for more than 1,500 people. If all goes to plan, it will be built in record time, with the launch of production scheduled for November 2021.

The company, called ‘Kronshtadt Group,’ is the developer and manufacturer of the Inokhodets UAV, also known as the Orion. This medium-altitude drone, which is capable of flying for a whole day, can carry a payload of up to 200kg, and has already seen action in the Middle East.

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In Syria, the Inokhodets has been used to strike terrorist targets from Islamic State. Russia has been involved in the Syrian Civil War since 2015, when it was invited by the Damascus government, led by President Bashar Assad, to help fight against insurgency in the country. In the years since Moscow’s involvement, pro-Government forces regained a lot of ground once occupied by terrorist forces. 

As well as Kronshtadt, many other Russian enterprises in the military-industrial complex are developing drones for deployment on the front lines. For example, aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi has teamed up with defense company Mikoyan to build the Okhotnik-B, which will have a top speed of 1,000 km/h. Another aerospace company, called OKB Sokol, has developed a UAV named Altius, due to be delivered to the Russian Army this year.  

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On February 21, it was reported that the Inokhodets had been used in 38 missions in Syria, including 17 strikes on militant targets.

Last year, Moscow news agency TASS revealed that over 900 Russian drones have entered into active service since 2012.

The town chosen to host the drone factory, Dubna, is famous in Russia for being the home of the country’s Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. It is also the location of MKB Raduga, an aerospace company mainly focused on the production of missiles.

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