Nov 17, 2021
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“Kronstadt” has found a council on “Bayraktar”

Photo: Orion-E reconnaissance and strike unmanned complex at Dubai Airshow 2021

In the photo: Orion-E reconnaissance and strike unmanned complex at the Dubai Airshow 2021 exhibition (Photo: Marina Lystseva / TASS)

A drone control system has been developed in Russia. It was presented at Dubai Airshow -2021 by the Kronshtadt company. “At this exhibition, we are presenting a new concept for organizing and managing diverse unmanned aerial vehicles, and there will also be a number of new products that guests of the exhibition will be able to familiarize themselves with,” the company’s CEO told TASS. Sergey Bogatikov.

This is a system that will allow the UAV operator to simultaneously control 20 drones. According to Bogatikov, the use of the Russian UAV control system is possible not only for military purposes, but also for peaceful purposes. At the UAE air show, it was shown in general terms. The system will be factory tested in Russia next year. And then – quite possibly – and “field” somewhere in Syria. The bulk of domestic combat drones and ammunition for them passed their baptism of fire there.

Most militarily advanced countries have combat drones and control systems for them: the United States, Israel, China and even Turkey, – says military expert, doctor of military sciences Konstantin Sivkov:

– There are different control systems for drones. There are those when drones self-organize. There is a system that controls each aircraft individually. And in the control room, decisions are made on the objective application. There are combined options, where a centralized system from a command post and a control post takes over the setting of goals and objectives, and the technical implementation of these tasks is carried out due to the system of collective behavior of these UAVs.

“SP”: – Why do we need an operational control system for an entire squadron of unmanned aerial vehicles?

– What is a drone, the same “Bayraktar”, for example? This is the same as a rocket. It differs only in that it can go back. And there are the so-called “kamikaze drones”, which, like a rocket, fly into the target area, patrol there in anticipation of the target or so that it manifests itself, attack and “die” (destroyed – ed.).

Another difference is that the rocket has a turbojet engine, and it flies at a speed of 2000 kilometers per hour, and a warhead weighing half a ton-ton. A drone flies at a speed of 130-200 kilometers per hour. I can drive at such a speed on the Moscow – St. Petersburg highway. Plus, the drone has a warhead of several kilograms or several tens of kilograms.

The same “Bayraktar” has a take-off weight of 650 kilograms. It cannot have complex and heavy control systems, especially considering that it must carry some other useful (combat – ed.) load. Of course, they need a coordinated action system to overcome the use of air defense in order to ensure the ability to recognize targets. And this system must be located remotely.

“SP”: – What tasks can a squadron of unmanned aerial vehicles perform?

– The role and meaning of the drone is actions in areas where there is a powerful intense countermeasures by air defense means. Where there is a high risk of losing aviation personnel. In these conditions, the drone squadrons are in the first echelon. They solve the problem of massive suppression of air defense, often just at the expense of their number, and not their capabilities. And then manned planes go along the paths beaten by drones, destroying designated targets.

“SP”: – “Smart” system can lead to a situation where drones will replace combat aircraft?

– Drones will never replace combat aviation. The drone is another type of weapon that complements the existing ones. No more. A drone cannot replace a person for the simple reason that the range of decision-making possibilities by a person is incomparably greater. Even if the operator controls the drones. In this case, for such a system, the main “hole” is vulnerability to electronic countermeasures.

The pilot, left without communication with the command post, will be able to find the target and destroy it, he will be able to make any adequate decision. A drone left without communication with the command post, at best, can solve the problem of hitting targets. But without human participation, the possibilities for making adequate decisions are sharply reduced, the chance of hitting such aircraft increases. And in the worst case, having lost control, he will simply fall to the ground or be knocked down by electronic warfare means.

The development of “Kronstadt”, according to international political scientist Ivana Khudyakov, will close this gap in the use of drones.

– The UAV control system presented in Dubai is based on the Orion UAV. It allows you to control drones not by radio frequencies, that is, not from a ground station, but via a satellite. Such a drone is harder to intercept with electronic warfare equipment. In addition, there is no link between the control station and the drone in terms of range.

“SP”: – That is, this system can be called advanced. Can the same be said about domestic drones?

– Compared to what was in Russia with the development of drones at the beginning of the millennium, the situation is better now. Five-day war (conflict between Russia, Georgia and South Ossetia in 2008 – ed.) we met without drones at all. After that, we urgently bought a Searcher drone in Israel, on the basis of which we made the Forpost drone. At the end of the last decade, we presented several promising developments.

This is the Orion drone, a similar analogue of the Bayraktar – an average reconnaissance and strike aircraft in terms of flight duration. It is they who now bear the main load in Syria. Although, of course, Russia is still catching up in this market. We have many promising designs. And we bring them to exhibitions, such as in Dubai, in order to interest potential buyers and so that they invest in their production. That is, we are trying to develop production through export orders.

“SP”: – Is the market for unmanned aerial vehicles stable? Do our Orions and other UAVs have a chance to take off?

– The UAV market is very promising. UAVs have a huge future, especially in light of the fact that strike weapons in the form of drones are much cheaper than air defense systems. Russian manufacturers have a chance to take their place. How quickly will our prototypes go into serial production? This is definitely not earlier than 2023-25. And here the question is not only about time, but also about politics. Although the drone market is less politicized than any other arms market, say, the market for the same air defense systems. The drone does not require constant maintenance. So, recently, Kyrgyzstan, a member of the CSTO, bought Bayraktars. And Saudi Arabia, a US partner in the Middle East, uses Chinese reconnaissance and strike drones.

“SP”: – Can drones oust heavy aircraft? And do we have such developments?

– We have heavy unmanned aerial systems – Altair and Hunter. The latter is paired with the promising Su-57 fighter. And in the future, it will be a tie-in for our new Su-75 fighter, which we mainly promote for export. This is a fifth generation fighter, but a single engine – a competitor to the American F-35.

We create a system when an airplane flies and several drones are tied to it next to it: short and long range. kamikaze drones. A pilot becomes more than just a fighter or bomber pilot. He becomes the commander of this drone swarm, which allows you to simultaneously fire on several objects, penetrate enemy air defenses by oversaturation of targets, inflict damage, conduct reconnaissance, and improve radar coverage for aircraft. So the prospects for using drones are enormous.

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