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Russian tech firm shows Aqua-22 AI-based combat drone at Army forum

The aerial vehicle is outfitted with a module for dropping a guided munition that could be adjusted all the way down to the target

PATRIOT PARK /Moscow Region/, August 18. /TASS/. An Aqua-22 copter-type combat drone capable of autonomously identifying enemy hardware and manpower with artificial intelligence (AI) was unveiled at the Army 2023 international military-technical forum, a representative of the Inventors for the Front volunteer project told TASS on Friday.

The drone is on display of the Era military-technological park’s exposition.

"The Aqua-22 modular quadcopter is furnished with a video camera based on the domestic motherboard to work with artificial intelligence to accomplish objectives autonomously. This video camera enables the drone to autonomously identify enemy hardware and manpower and other objects," he said.

"We have not seen similar drones in Russia as of now. The drone was engineered jointly with the Era technological park and together with it we are developing and training the neural network. Specialists from Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Rostov-on-Don took part in creating the drone," he specified.

The combat drone is expected to be eventually employed in the zone of the special military operation in Ukraine, the project’s representative said.

"We expect the drone to be further practically employed in the interests of the Russian Armed Forces. An understanding has been reached on conducting large-scale tests jointly with the Russian Defense Ministry’s Main Innovative Development Department," he elaborated.

The Aqua-22 is also called upon to reduce the burden on its operator, he said.

"Possibly, it will be more difficult for the drone to correctly identify a target upon an object’s certain deformation or camouflaging. However, in instances when a human eye may miss some casual objects, a neural network will certainly not skip it," the project’s representative said.

"The aerial vehicle is outfitted with a module for dropping a guided munition that continues to be guided after its dropping to adjust its flight path all the way down to the target. This, of course, boosts the safety of munition-dropping that can take place at a high altitude and its accuracy several-fold. As for the combat payload, it can use the core of the VOG grenade launcher fragmentation shell," the project’s representative said.

The combat drone can carry a maximum payload of 4 kg, he said.

"As its other advantage, the drone carries a quickly detachable payload. The drone features a special fixture to quickly replace or remove the camera for repairs and attach modules depending on objectives," he stressed.

The latest combat drone has its flight endurance of 60 minutes and can operate within a 30 km range. It operates in irregular frequencies that makes it immune to enemy jamming, he said.

The Army 2023 international military-technical forum is running at the Patriot Congress and Exhibition Center, the Alabino training ground and the Kubinka airfield outside Moscow on August 14-20. About 1,500 leading Russian defense enterprises and 85 foreign companies and businesses from seven countries are participating in the forum’s expositions and business program.

The forum has been organized by the Russian Defense Ministry. TASS is the forum’s strategic media partner.