Russian arms maker Kalashnikov, the creator of the world’s most widely used explosive device, announced on Friday a new division for the production of kamikaze drones, one of the main weapons used in the war in Ukraine.
After Western Ukrainian, Israeli and Turkish forces used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with devastating effect in the early months of the war, Russia has made the Iranian Shahed use drones as it tries to increase its production.
“Kalashnikov has started new UAV production,” Izhevsk-based Kalashnikov, Russia’s largest producer of automatic weapons and guided missiles, said in a statement.
Kalashnikov’s new division has been identified for the production of so-called lingering munitions, or kamikaze drones, which detonate once on target.
“The main task of the division is to produce complexes when weapons are directed with hesitation. Complexes are designed for the high-precision destruction of individual men and groups by removing enemy targets from the ground.”
Kalashnikov, named after Mikhail Kalashnikov, will manufacture the AK-47 assault rifle, including launchers, control technology and analysis and development.
“By 2024, we will be able to multiply several times the number of UAVs produced in our traditional way: delay defenses and surveillance drones,” said Kalashnikov President Alan Lushnikov. He did not give figures.
First used by the United States of America in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, drones have become the main tool for the armies of all major powers, both to gather information and to destroy targets.
Ukraine said on Friday that Russia had launched 31 drones into it overnight, while Moscow reported that two drones had hit the southern Russian city of Krasnodar.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said last month that Russia’s drone industry could quickly exceed $12 billion once a plan to boost production is put in place.
Putin is responsible for the increase in drone production. Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov said that by 2026, Russia could manufacture 18,000 drones a year.