The Russian Air Force considers the unmanned aerial vehicles offered by domestic manufacturers to be inferior in quality, the force commander said on Thursday, as is reported in an online news article from RIA Novosti. Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin said the Russian-made UAVs delivered to the Air Force failed to meet the required specifications.
"To put such drones into service is simply a crime," he said. "I am, therefore, refusing to sign any acceptance papers." Russia recently bought 12 UAVs from Israel in a deal worth US$53 million. Military officials are on record as saying that "in literally one year," Russia will start the production of its own unmanned planes, on a par with Israeli versions.
According to various estimates, the Russian military needs as many as 100 UAVs and at least 10 guidance systems to ensure effective battlefield reconnaissance. The Russian military has stressed the need for advanced means of battlefield reconnaissance in the wake of a brief military conflict with Georgia in 2008, when the effectiveness of Russian military operations was severely hampered by the lack of reliable intelligence.