Kalashnikov Group plans to further develop loitering munitions

MOSCOW, August 11. /TASS-DEFENSE/. The Kalashnikov Group intends to further develop loitering munitions and reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), with the main focus on future production of fire-and-forget projectiles, Group’s President Alan Lushnikov told the Kommersant daily.

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ZALA Aero "Lancet" unveiled at Army 2019 (Picture source: Army Recognition)

“It’s highly likely that the future warfare will have something to do with one system fighting another one, involving physical, digital and radio electronic warfare assets. In this context, we believe that we should proceed in the direction we took in developing tactical-level weapons, such as loitering munitions and reconnaissance UAVs,” Lushnikov said.

Particularly, as he pointed out, a “huge potential” is seen in the company-made Vikhr guided missile. “I’m not going to disclose the details just yet, but I can say that we are working on it closely and seriously. We have laid large groundwork as far as technologies and competencies are concerned: the item is already being tested, and we are working confidentially with the customer on the integration [of the weapon],” he said.

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The 9K121 Vikhr (NATO reporting name: AT-16 Scallion) is a Russian laser guided anti-tank missile (Picture source: Минпромторг России)

According to Lushnikov, global producers are currently developing automated guidance algorithms, which help a missile recognize a target by its image without any further assistance from a fire unit or an operator. “A projectile is guided by an image and therefore can engage a moving threat. This is where we are moving toward and what we are working on, but this is all the details by now,” he stressed.

The Kalashnikov Group’s president also pointed out that the company constantly modernizes its products and closely cooperates with the Defense Ministry in this area. Also, Lushnikov positively assessed the efficiency of the Lancet and KUB loitering munitions used in the special military operation in Ukraine, saying that they cannot be compared with Turkish-made Bayraktar drones.

“The comparison is inappropriate. This drone [Bayraktar] has completely different purposes. The KUB is an aircraft filled with explosives, which is tasked to hit the bull’s eye,” the owner of the Kalashnikov Group said, adding that the Lancet and KUB munitions are not designed to engage moving targets. As he explained, “it’s not a flaw — it’s a feature” of the company’s UAVs.

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KUB can be used to strike at infrastructure facilities, enemy manpower, as well as lightly armored targets. The KUB operates silently and reaches speeds of up to 130 km / h thanks to the electric power plant and can spend up to 30 minutes in flight (Picture source: Zala Aero)

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