A Russian research center called Zaslon is developing a system for the Mi-28NM helicopter gunship to fire suicide drones from its missile launch tubes, a source in the defense-industrial complex was quoted as saying by TASS today.
Zaslon's missile launching module B8V10-UV can be adjusted for each specific task (for launching mini-drones or missiles). Also, it boasts weapons programming instruments.
"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," the source said.
Originally, the new unguided aviation missile cluster was designed for the helicopter Mi-28NM, but it will be usable on all of Russia's combat helicopters equipped with a weapons control system, such as Mi-28, Ka-52 and attack configurations of the Mi-8.
Small size attack drones besides also robots and exoskeletons will be integrated with Russia's new generation soldier gear, the commander of ground forces, General of the Army Oleg Salyukov told the government-published Rossiiskaya Gazeta in a recent interview.
"One of the current research and development projects, being carried out at the request of the ground forces' command, envisages creation of a new generation combat gear incorporating elements that enhance the personnel's physical abilities, such as combat and special exoskeletons, and the integration of combat and support robots as well as small reconnaissance and attack drones," Salyukov said.
Such equipment will enhance each soldier's situational awareness, facilitate the performance of combat missions and minimize the level of physical effort and risks to life.
Earlier, the Russian corporation Rostec said that the new generation combat gear Sotnik, being developed by one of its affiliates - the Central Scientific-Research Institute for Precision Machine Engineering TasNIItochMash - will incorporate micro-drones, connected with a tactical level automated command system. Images from its cameras will be projected to the soldier’s helmet visor or protective glasses.
The Russians may be joining the Americans in recognizing the use of small drones as Kamikaze killers. US defence contractor, Aerovironment has developed its "Switchblade" concept, a shoulder-launched loitering munition that will strike to kill at a command from the soldier.
The Switchblade drone may soon be given US soldiers on special missions in urban areas where spotting camouflaged enemy and taking him down is the priority.