The biggest program for creation of Russian military drone Altair encountered financial difficulties

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The biggest program for creation of Russian military drone Altair encountered financial difficulties
The biggest program for creation of Russian military drone Altair encountered financial difficulties

There was not enough money for the drone

Developer of military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Kazan-based experimental design bureau named after Simonov requested the government to finance the civil version of the system.

Developer of military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Kazan-based experimental design bureau named after Simonov requested the government to finance the civil version of the system. Top manager of an enterprise of Rostec and two persons close to the Defense Ministry reported this. Representative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that there were no such requests received from this company. The experimental design bureau named after Simonov and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Tatarstan did not answer the questions.

The experimental design bureau of Simonov (Sokol at that time) won the tender of the Defense Ministry for a research and development program for creation of a drone with weight of up to 5 tons worth 1 billion rubles in 2011. The five-year contract on the experimental and designing program was signed in 2013. In 2016, Altair drone had the maiden flight. According to a person close to the Defense Ministry, in the course of development weight of the drone grew to 7 tons. It is presumed that it will have flight duration of up to 48 hours, distance of communication (without satellite channel) of up to 450 kilometers and cargo capacity of up to 2 tons, which will allow creation of a strike version. According to the top manager of Rostec, money of the Defense Ministry is not enough for development (more than 2 billion rubles already spent) and so the design bureau had an idea of inclusion of a civil version of Altair that could be use for monitoring of the Arctic regions into some civil state programs for obtaining of financing worth 1.5-2 billion rubles. According to the design bureau, this will allow creation of a model of the drone and starting of its production in 2020.

Editor of Unmanned Aviation Denis Fedutinov presumes that in Russia with its adverse climatic conditions, big territory and long border such drones may be demanded. Besides fulfillment of special tasks for the military and border guards in Arctic this drone can also be used for monitoring of big area and long linear objects, provision of seafaring along the Northern Sea Route etc. Konstantin Makienko from the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies adds that all developed countries wish to have such drones now but only a few companies make them. The Defense Ministry has a right to demand observance of the deadlines from the design bureau but there is no alternative now and it is worth supporting this project at expense of less priority and more expensive projects, the person close to the Defense Ministry said.

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