Russia and Ukraine are engaged in more than a protracted conflict; they’re also racing to field next-generation aerial and ground robots. While the former has a lot more money and technical experts to throw at the problem, recent events suggest that the latter is closing the gap.
This week, Ukrainian aerospace company Antonov unveiled a concept for what would be the country’s first long-range unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, for surveillance and strike. The drone would have a more-than-70-foot wingspan, fly as high as 40,000 feet, and carry up to 1,300 pounds.
“The unmanned system incorporates nine pods under the wings to carry munitions for combat operations. Each pod can carry air-to-ground missiles or other precision weapons,” the Ukrainian arms observation site Defence Blog reports.
Sam Bendett, a researcher at the CNA Corporation and a fellow in Russia Studies at the American Foreign Policy Council, said that although Ukrainians have been testing a variety