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Russian army to have strategic drones soon — defense minister

They will reduce the costs of reconnaissance and strike operations, Sergey Shoigu pointed out

MOSCOW, May 20. /TASS/. The Russian army is to be armed with strategic drones in the near future, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at the Defense Ministry’s board meeting on Friday.

"Strategic UAVs are expected to be supplied [to the Russian armed forces] in the near future. They will ease the pressure on flight personnel and considerably reduce the costs of reconnaissance and strike operations as well as the consumption of ammunition and the aircraft’s wear rate," he said.

Shoigu stressed that Russia’s army continued to be supplied with advanced tactical drones.

"UAVs are being widely used by the Russian army to cope with a wide range of tasks. Over the past ten years the intensity of their flights has been up 7 times, and the annual flight time, 23 times," Shoigu said.

Since 2015 drones have monitored the situation in the whole territory of Syria round the clock. From the moment the Syrian operation began more than 58,000 sorties have been carried out. The total flight time exceeded 377,000 hours.

"In the special military operation in Ukraine drones conduct air reconnaissance and carry out pinpoint strikes against enemy facilities in densely populated urban areas without harming civilian infrastructures or causing civilian casualties. Since the day the operation started the drones’ total flight time has exceeded 25,000 hours. The data is transmitted from the drones online, enabling the troops to promptly react to changes in the situation and operate most effectively," Shoigu said.

The Defense Ministry’s board meeting was to consider a draft program for arming the Aerospace Force and the Navy with medium and long-range drones by 2030.