Off to Russia: ADCOM Systems will deliver its first United 40 Block 5 drone to the Russian military in February for flight tests. (ADCOM Systems)
DUBAI — The Russian armed forces will conduct test flights of a United Arab Emirates-made UAV early next year, Russian State News Agency RIA Novosti reported.
In a statement to the news agency by Ali al-Dhaheri, chief executive of ADCOM Systems and chief designer of the aircraft, the unmanned United 40 Block 5 long-range reconnaissance vehicle will be tested to assess whether it meets the military’s operational needs.
Dhaheri said the first drone would be delivered to Russia in February.
A preliminary agreement has been reached to sell more test vehicles to the armed forces, depending on the results of the first flights.
The medium-altitude drone can stay airborne for more than 100 hours and can also be equipped with Namrod air-to-surface guided missiles.
The United 40 Block 5 made its international debut flight at this year’s MAKS air show near Moscow.
Military expert Denis Fedutinov told RIA Novosti that ADCOM Systems had shown “great interest in the Russian market.”
“If this system satisfies the requirements of the Russian military, it can be expected that ... the original purchase will be followed by a contract for deployment,” Fedutinov said.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in June that aerial drones being developed in Russia for the military were inferior to similar foreign models.
Russia purchased 12 unmanned aircraft from Israel Aerospace Industries in 2009 in a $53 million deal that attracted criticism at the time.
The United 40 Block 5 is 11 meters long and has two sets of wings with a span of 17.53 meters, according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
It can fly to an altitude of 8,000 meters and has a cruising speed of 120 to 200 kilometers per hour.
The drone can carry a payload of up to 100 kilograms under each of its four wings.
Russia’s military began seeking advanced reconnaissance systems following the brief conflict with neighboring Georgia in August 2008, when the effectiveness of ground operations was severely hampered by a lack of reliable intelligence.
Various experts have estimated that Russia’s armed forces need up to 100 unmanned aircraft and at least 10 guidance and control systems to ensure effective reconnaissance for troops on the battlefield.