Kalashnikov Launches 3 Kilogram Killer Drone
The legendary AK-47 assault rifle manufacturer Kalashnikov is venturing into drone territory with the launch of its KUB-UAV drone which is capable of carrying up to three kilograms of explosives and detonates on impact. The KUB-UAV can travel at up to 130 kilometers per hour (78 mph) and can remain airborne for 30 minutes. The lethality of this drone can be viewed on a YouTube video that shows the drone success in destroying remote targets.
Aiming to exhibit the KUB-UAV which Kalashnikov vouches to be inexpensive and easy to operate the company demonstrated the device at a defense exhibition in Abu Dhabi this week. According to the Washington Post, representatives from Kalashnikov claim the drone to be faster, more accurate and capable of delivering double the explosive power of makeshift devices built by terrorists, who have strapped explosives to publicly available drones in some operations.
The cost of the KUB-UAV is unclear yet however according to a Kalashnikov representative it is ready for use and likely to be “very cheap”. However some experts are concerned about Kalashnikov’s intention of making the drone available to “smaller armies” given the established drone potential of carrying out destruction like the drone led assassination attempt of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Another glaring example is the violation of restricted air space regulations by rouge drones which forced a number of airports to ground flights recently.
Sergey Chemezov, Rostec CEO says, “This complex is a step towards completely new combat operations. We confidently keep in the forefront among the countries producing such weapons. High-precision unmanned projectile flies up to 30 minutes at a speed of 130 km per hour. The charge on this complex is delivered to the target, regardless of its secrecy and terrain, both small and at high altitudes. This is a very accurate and most effective weapon that is very difficult to fight with using traditional air defense systems.”
According to the company a six-pound payload might not cause much damage to a tank or fortified installation, but will prove lethal in attacking civilians, civilian vehicles, infantry, and unprotected targets while dealing with civil wars, popular unrest, and similar activities. Military planners have long imagined how fighters and bombers might perform if liberated from the need to protect a fragile human.
Nicholas Grossman, a University of Illinois professor of international relations and author of a book called Drones and Terrorism, told the Washington Post, “I think of it as democratizing smart bombs. This would shrink the gap between the most advanced militaries and the smaller ones.”
While the US has explored its own suicide drone concepts, Kalashnikov’s KUB is believed to be targeting a far lower price point and more limited capabilities than the relatively expensive, higher-end craft typically fielded by the US military or by other first-world nations. Weapons like the KUB-UAV will undoubtedly find themselves in the arsenals of various countries with rapid technological advancement taking place every day.