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Russia to Build UAV Assault Helicopters

Written by on Friday, January 27th, 2012

Just recently, I covered some of the most innovative and unique unmanned aircraft vehicles. We’ve seen planes, blimps, surveillance spy drones, and even man-powered drones that are thrown like paper airplanes. One aircraft that seems conspicuously absent from this list, however, is the helicopter. Why don’t we see more UAV helicopter projects?



Russian Helicopters, the leading manufacturer of helicopters in Russia, is looking to expand UAV technology. They intend to build UAV helicopter prototypes for test flights as early as 2017.

These helicopters should be capable of performing routine tasks without the presence of a pilot. More than likely, however, these UAV helicopters will require operators on a ground base to control them from afar. The Russians expect to use these helicopters for transportation and assault purposes.



While it’s easy to see the appeal of UAVs, equipping a helicopter with UAV capabilities does seem like something of an odd choice. Consider the main benefits of UAV technology in currently-equipped aircraft. These aircraft can be deployed for days at a time without requiring the pilot to rest, the UAV become much more expendable because buy valium without no prescription there is no risk of the pilot dying, and it enables the military to use aircraft that would otherwise be uninhabitable by humans, such as is the case with small drones.

With helicopters, these benefits aren’t quite as pronounced. There will be no risk of pilot death, certainly, but helicopters are useful because they can load and unload small amounts of cargo or small groups of people quickly, and they are very maneuverable. It seems as though the Russians are trying to remove a human component from an aircraft that actually needs that human component. A spy UAV plane that flies over enemy territory for days at a time actually benefits from not needing a pilot, but helicopters require human agents to unload or unload cargo. If the helicopters require human interaction for their normal functions, doesn’t removing the pilot make it a bit pointless?

Still, the fact that Russian operators can launch an assault remotely gives helicopters a bit more flexibility. Whether this technology turns out to be as useful as other UAV aircraft, however, has yet to be seen.


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