Kalashnikov Expands Production to Counter Ukrainian Use of Advanced Drones
Izhevsk-based arms manufacturer Kalashnikov, known for producing the AK-47 assault rifle, announced on Friday the establishment of a new division dedicated to the production of kamikaze drones, a crucial weapon employed in the ongoing Ukraine war. As Ukrainian forces effectively utilized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Western, Israeli, and Turkish origins during the initial stages of the conflict, Russia responded by deploying Iranian-made Shahed drones while simultaneously increasing efforts to enhance its domestic production capabilities.
New Division at Kalashnikov to Focus on Kamikaze Drones and Loitering Munitions
In a statement, Kalashnikov, Russia’s largest manufacturer of automatic weapons and guided artillery, declared its intention to initiate UAV production. The newly formed division will specialize in the creation of loitering munitions, commonly referred to as kamikaze drones, which are designed to detonate upon identifying a target. These systems aim to achieve precise destruction of both individual and group enemy ground targets.
Furthermore, Kalashnikov, named after the renowned firearms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov, will manufacture launchers, control technology, and conduct research and development in this domain. Alan Lushnikov, President of Kalashnikov, expressed optimism, stating that by 2024, production numbers within their traditional niche of loitering munitions and reconnaissance drones would witness a substantial increase, although specific figures were not provided.
The utilization of drones, which initially gained prominence during the United States’ involvement in the former Yugoslavia conflict in the 1990s, has now become an essential tool for major military powers. These unmanned systems not only gather critical intelligence but also effectively neutralize targets. Recent reports indicate that Ukraine faced an onslaught of 31 drones launched by Russia overnight, while Moscow reported two drone strikes in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar.
Russian Drone Industry Expected to Reach $12 Billion
Highlighting the significance of Russia’s drone industry, President Vladimir Putin predicted that its value could surpass $12 billion, emphasizing the need to boost production. First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov expressed aspirations to manufacture 18,000 drones annually by the end of 2026. With this strategic expansion by Kalashnikov, Russia aims to strengthen its capabilities and maintain a competitive edge in the rapidly evolving field of unmanned aerial systems, directly addressing the changing dynamics of modern warfare.