Russian arms manufacturer Kalashnikov launched a new drone production facility last week.
The facility will focus on producing guided loitering munitions — a weapon system Moscow has deployed extensively in Ukraine.
“The main task of the division is the production of complexes with guided loitering munitions. The complexes are designed for high-precision destruction of remote single and group enemy ground targets,” Reuters quoted a Kalashnikov statement as saying.
Kalashnikov President Alan Lushnikov added that they intend to increase the production of loitering munitions and reconnaissance drones by several times in 2024.
Iranian Shaheds in Ukraine
Russia has relied heavily on Iranian-made Shahed-class drones to target Ukrainian infrastructure as it suffers battlefield losses.
Moscow has received an estimated 400 Shahed drones since August and is now looking to acquire more sophisticated military drones from Iran, according to US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.
In turn, Tehran seeks to acquire Russian defense hardware, including attack helicopters, radars, and Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft.
Russia’s Drone Plans
Russian President Vladimir Putin stated last month that the Russian drone industry should be worth $12 billion following a planned production boost.
First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov added that Russia could start producing 18,000 drones annually by the end of 2026.