A number of unusual drones have been unveiled by Russia in recent years like an underwater drone armed with an underwater version of a Kalashnikov assault rifle meant to fight off undersea divers. Russia has tested unmanned aerial combat vehicles and even “suicide drones.”
Now, Russian arms maker Almaz-Antey has taken recognisable icon of warfare Kalashnikov’s AK-47 a step further by literally making it fly-an AK-47 drone! Or call it a flying drone that features a rifle reminiscent of Kalashnikov’s iconic AK-47.
The images filed with the patent show a minimalist drone formed around a Kalashnikov-style rifle. With forward facing propellers, the drone will likely have to maintain some velocity throughout its flight. The aircraft has no apparent propulsion, but has two large bulbs that may support propellers. It looks to have large control surfaces built into rear vertical stabilizers and towards the gun’s barrel at the front of the aircraft.
The gun appears a completely standard Kalashnikov rifle, with a standard banana-shaped magazine that extends conspicuously from the bottom of the airframe. The drawings of the drone show absolutely no effort made towards making the gun streamlined or more aerodynamic.
To operate such a drone against small targets, the aircraft would have to handle the blowback from the shots fired and have a way to find, track and fire at moving targets. And then there is the question of how long the drone could sustain itself mid-flight or what kind of magazine it could hold. Business Insider points out that “each drone gun likely wouldn’t hold more than 30 rounds.”
Details are predictably sparse though since it remains unclear how the drone is powered. It’s also not entirely clear what firearm the bizarre contraption features..While Business Insider suggests it’s a “completely standard Kalashnikov rifle, with a standard banana-shaped magazine that extends conspicuously from the bottom of the airframe” C4isrnet suggests it’s a Vepr 12 shotgun, a variant of the AK rifle series. It does evoke a terrifying vision of the future of warfare in which small expendable drones can pepper enemy troops with small-arms fire.
Defence contractors routinely file patents for a variety of innovations: in February Kalashnikov unveiled a small drone that’s meant to destroy remote ground targets from a distance of up to 40 miles (64 km) away — by blowing itself up like a suicide bomber. Belarus military forces also showed off a quadcopter drone that can carry a tank-killing rocket launcher, Popular Mechanics reported in June 2018.