On 6 February 2020, 558 Aircraft Repair Plant JSC (558 ARP) hosted a working meeting led by Minister of the Belarusian State Authority for Military Industry (SAMI) Roman Golovchenko. The participants discussed the production of strike unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in Belarus.
The heads of the development organisations reported about interim results. The attenders were shown some practical groundwork for manufacturing the components for strike UASs.
Roman Golovchenko set tasks to unite the companies’ efforts and intensify work in this direction so as to test the development prototypes already this year:
“We are in the thick of drones. Not only SAMI enterprises work on it, but also teams of other defence companies. Many of them specialise in certain areas and develop gliders, flight navigation systems, take-off and landing control systems. Last year the head of state instructed us to conduct an in-depth analysis of finished products.
We analysed the situation about the companies’ experience and progress. The Belarusian State Authority for Military Industry unites under its authority the majority of developers and manufacturers and aims them to perform the main task: to produce a competitive effective strike unmanned aircraft system as soon as possible, not just one, but a whole range of strike UASs that ensure covert hit the enemy in the tactical zone of action. Now the time has come to check the companies’ products. And it is very symbolic that this event is held on the basis of 558 ARP, which is the main one in the programme. We can already do a lot in this regard. The key issue is improving the reliability and accuracy of hitting. Therefore, this topic is under our special control, and the results, I am sure, will not be long in coming.”
According to Roman Golovchenko, a number of strike drones have already existed. They were shown at the end of 2018 at the Domanovo training ground. These are such products as a kamikaze and UAS that strike using grenade launchers as weapons.
Development work is ongoing, combat use is being enhanced, designs are being lightened, aiming and stabilisation systems on the Loitering Tube and Kvadro1400 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are being improved. The personnel have already finished the products. It is noteworthy that now they are showing very good results. So, at one of a military training ground both UAVs successfully completed specific combat missions in delivering strikes to an aggressor at the end of last year. Now the developers whip them into shape. The drones have to go through a completed test cycle, after which they can be taken into service. This work is being carried out jointly with the Armed Forces, who are interested in these UAVs. By the way, foreign customers show great interest in it. All foreign delegations coming to Belarus are impressed with the results of the use of the Loitering Tube and Kvadro1400.
In the near future, the first tests of a new strike drone with a range of up to 25 kilometres are planned.