Russia’s military drone production ramping up, says defence minister

Moscow – In a move likely to raise eyebrows across the globe, Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced a significant increase in the country’s military drone production over the past year. This comes amidst the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, where drones have played a pivotal role on both sides of the battlefield.

Shoigu’s statement, released through the Defence Ministry, touted a production ramp-up, though did not provide specific figures. He acknowledged “certain technical issues” that need to be addressed, but overall painted a picture of rapid progress in the drone development sector.

This announcement follows a similar push for increased missile production. In May 2023, Shoigu urged a state-owned company to double its output of high-precision weapons, citing the evolving situation in Ukraine and potential ammunition constraints.

Analysts view this latest development through a skeptical lens. Some point to historical inconsistencies in Russian military production claims, highlighting a tendency to overinflate figures for propaganda purposes. Additionally, concerns linger about the quality and capabilities of these newly produced drones, particularly given the acknowledged technical hurdles.

Western intelligence suggests that Russia has relied heavily on imported drone technology throughout the conflict, facing domestic limitations in production and performance. While increased output is possible, achieving parity with advanced Western models might remain a challenge.

The strategic implications of this announcement are multifaceted. It could signal Russia’s intent to intensify its drone warfare in Ukraine, or simply represent an effort to bolster its overall military capabilities. It could also be interpreted as a message to the West, showcasing determination and resilience in the face of sanctions and international pressure.

However, the opaque nature of the announcement and the persistent technical challenges leave room for uncertainty. Only time will tell whether this reported drone production surge translates into tangible battlefield advantages for Russia, or remains another point of contention in the already complex narrative of the Ukraine conflict.

Key words: Russia, military drone, production, Sergei Shoigu, Ukraine, conflict, missiles, technical issues, analysts, Western intelligence, imported technology, strategic implications, warfare, sanctions.

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