The company behind the AK-47 just unveiled a new kamikaze drone
Russian company is developing a propeller-driven “suicide drone” that could target enemy air defenses.
Kalashnikov Group, the same family of companies that produces Russia’s iconic assault rifles, revealed the KUB-BLA drone at the IDEX-2019 trade show in Abu Dhabi in February 2019.
It’s unclear whether the Russian air force requested the drone’s development, or Kalashnikov developed the type on its own for the domestic or foreign market.
In recent years Kalashnikov has expanded beyond the world of small arms into new weapons systems and even civilian vehicles. The company is supplying new AK-12 and AK-15 assault rifles and Chukavin sniper rifles set to arm the Russian Ground Forces, but it’s also building the new BAS-01G drone tank, a hovercycle, and even an electric car.
Kalashnikov introduced the KUB-BLA drone at the International Exhibition of Arms and Military Equipment IDEX-2019 in Abu Dhabi. The KUB-BLA has a three-kilogram (6.61-pound) payload, a flying time of 30 minutes, and a 130-kilometer-per-hour (80-mph) top speed. Typically, the payload is apparently a high-explosive charge. The drone is 47 inches wide by 37 inches long and 6.5 inches high.
According to Kalashnikov, KUB-BLA attacks targets after the coordinates are fed into the vehicle. Alternately, it can attack a target based on an image uploaded to the control system. If true, this suggests that operators could pick an image of, for example, an American M-ATV vehicle and the drone would seek out similar-looking vehicles on the battlefield. That sort of target-recognition system is increasingly common in anti-tank missiles.
Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Rostec, of which Kalashnikov is a subsidiary, is quoted as saying, “The charge on this complex (system) is delivered to the target, regardless of its secrecy and terrain, both at small and at high altitudes. This is a very accurate and most effective weapon that is very difficult to fight with using traditional air-defense systems.“ According to Kalashnikov the drone is “successfully tested and ready for use.”