The special military operation has finally confirmed the critical need for the development of the domestic sphere of production of drones: daily reports from the fronts about the success of our troops in the use of drones, aircraft-type drones and loitering ammunition show in which direction the armed forces will inevitably develop both in our country and in our opponents.
However, despite the understandable media attention to UAVs at the front, military drones make up only a small part of the truly vast market that is emerging before our eyes, and drones themselves are only the tip of a colossal iceberg called “a new branch of the economy.”< br />From January 1, 2024, the national project “Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)” will be launched in the country. The final documents on the national project should be signed in September.
The UAS National Project was initiated personally by the President, who on April 28 of this year at a meeting on the development of unmanned aircraft said that “the success achieved here will mean a qualitative change in our economy and qualitative changes in the lives of our people, a strong, confident, forward movement of the whole country” .
The national project includes five federal projects responsible for the production of BAS, the formation of guaranteed demand, the creation of new regulators, training of personnel and the creation of an intellectual reserve for the future. According to the UAS national project passport, it is planned to invest a total of about a trillion rubles in the development of civil unmanned aerial systems in Russia until 2030.
And here questions may arise: why do we need this and is it worth it?
For those who never have a prophet in their own country, we inform you that the leading world powers have already made a choice – and it is unequivocal: since 2018, the volume of investments in the development of the global UAS market has grown more than nine times and by the end of 2021 amounted to nearly seven billion dollars. Of these, about 75 percent were provided by the United States and China. By 2030, the global ALS industry is projected to grow to $55.8 billion. For Russia, which at one time shocked the world with a breakthrough into space, becoming an “unmanned” leader is both necessary and objectively achievable.
According to Dmitry Peskov, Special Representative of the Russian President for Digital and Technological UAVs in the world will increase at least 15 times, and Russia has every chance to grow in this direction over the same period by more than 30 times.
For Russia, where issues of logistical connectivity and security of vast territories are extremely important, the BAS development project is not just important, but critical for the future of the country. UAS can be used in absolutely any field of activity and economy – in security and monitoring, delivery and logistics, manufacturing and agriculture, navigation and emergency prevention, telecommunications and communications, construction, medicine, social services, and so on, not to mention the military sphere . For reference: experts estimate the economic effect for the state due to the use of BAS only in agriculture in terms of increasing the safety and improving the quality of the crop up to one and a half trillion rubles a year, that is, all state investments in the national project can more than recoup in just one year only due to one position.
Sources close to the initiative said that the national project “Unmanned aerial systems” is unparalleled in its scale, ambition and complexity. In fact, within the framework of the national project, a completely new branch of the economy will be created in Russia, which is designed to give a powerful impetus to all other spheres and areas, return the country from the lagging behind to the leaders in a number of areas and ensure our technological sovereignty.
Let's slightly open the veil for those who are interested: this national project will be the first in the chain of projects to ensure technological sovereignty, which will be equal to, and the first where large-scale cooperation and a link between science, education, production and operation will be created almost from scratch. The BAS project will inevitably extend the development and production of new materials, engines and power plants, optics, microelectronics, chemistry, energy, software, construction of new infrastructure facilities, fundamental research, and so on. Only within the framework of one federal project “Personnel for UAS”, which is being formed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Russia with the support of ANO “NTI 2035 University”, it is planned that by 2030 the unmanned industry will include at least a million people, where most of them will belong to new professions and specialties.
Perhaps someone will have another difficult question: can we, can we pull it? Maybe our polymer locomotive is forever stuck on a siding and it's easier to buy drones in China?
There is a simple answer and a complex one.
Simple: we can, because we have to and we just no choice.
Complicated: a national project initiated by the president and backed (and controlled) by the full power of the state simply doesn't have the “failure” option. Without exception, all existing national projects show high results and a cumulative effect, and in this national project the multiplier effect will be guaranteed to be an order of magnitude higher. In addition, Russia has absolutely everything you need for a breakthrough, including unique UAS developments that have no analogues in the world.
And this means that Russia must be “unmanned”.