Asymmetric Dialogue

China teams up with Russia to develop rocket-launched reconnaissance drone

Russia’s Tecmash Research and Production Group has continued the experimental design work jointly with China to develop a reconnaissance drone launched inside a projectile of the Smerch multiple launch rocket system, Tecmash Deputy CEO Alexander Kochkin said at the ArmHiTec-2018 exhibition on Friday.
As the Splav Research and Production Association (part of Tecmash) reported in February 2017, the company had developed a project on its own initiative to create an unmanned aerial vehicle launched inside a projectile of the Smerch MLRS. The drone is designed to reconnoiter targets and can hover at an altitude of 500 m for 20 minutes. Splav said at the time it expected a prospective customer to show interest in the project soon.
While Russia’s Defense Ministry showed no interest in the project so far, China got interested in it, Kochkin said.
"Joint experimental design work with the Chinese side is underway," he said.
The joint work with China has been agreed with Russia’s Defense Ministry in accordance with the established procedure, he added.
The Smerch is the Soviet and Russian 300mm multiple launch rocket system developed in the Soviet Union. It has been in operation since 1987. It has a firing range of 20-120 km. The projectile with a drone has a range of 90 km, according to the Splav data.