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The helicopter gunshop Mi-28NM is being fitted with drones which Russia will be able to fire from missile launch tubes, an insider told state news agency Tass. The source said: “Built-in instruments transmit information from the helicopter’s weapons control system to the payload, be it controlled detonation missiles, guided missiles, mini-drones or suicide drones.
“For instance, it can charge the drone’s battery, transmit the activation command, and turn the drone on to send it on a pre-programmed mission.”
Initially, the unguided aviation missile cluster, developed by the Zaslon research centre, was designed specifically for the Mi-28NM – but it will now be usable on all Russian combat helicopters which are equipped with a weapons control system, including the Mi-28 and Ka-52.
The insider explained: “Roughly speaking one flash drive is capable of reprogramming the weapons control systems for using not only ordinary unguided aviation missiles, but also smart weapons.”
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Russia has been actively seeking to develop drone weaponry in recent years.
Last year, state corporation Rostec confirmed it was developing killer drones, capable of tracking, intercepting and neutralising enemy drones.
Director for international cooperation Viktor Kladov told Tass: “It works simply: point the gun at the drone and pull the trigger.
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“The electromagnetic pulse suppresses the electronics of the drone and it either falls or continues to move, but loses contact with the one who sent it – in fact, the device becomes blind and useless.”
In addition, Israeli-designed drones were also deployed by Russia to patrol the skies during the Syrian War last year in defence of ally Bashar Al-Assad.
Most dramatically of all, in May, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Russia confirmed it would test its Poseidon nuclear-powered underwater nuclear missile this autumn.
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Dubbed the “doomsday drone”, the giant torpedo, will be able to carry several megatons nuclear warhead and will be capable of travelling 6,000 miles, putting the US comfortably in range.
If detonated close to the eastern seaboard, it could cause a tsunami tens of metres high causing catastrophic damage additional to that resulting from the actual explosion.
A report published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies this week suggested Russia was now better prepared from war than at any time since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The dossier says: “Russia’s political leaders now have at their disposal well-equipped conventional armed forces built around professional rather than conscript personnel.
“Russia’s military-modernisation efforts are providing Moscow with a credible military tool for pursuing national policy goals”
“Nuclear forces continue to be viewed by Moscow as the ultimate security guarantor.
“Ground forces are now better equipped, with elements – alongside the Airborne Forces – constituting a force held at higher readiness than before.
“The firepower of Russia’s navy has been extended by the widespread introduction of land-attack cruise missiles.
“The introduction of upgraded types of combat aircraft and associated weapons has improved the Aerospace Forces’ capability markedly.”
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