by Yekaterina Kudashkina
Moscow, Russia (Voice of Russia) Aug 30, 2012
Recently Russia has celebrated 100th anniversary of establishing of Russian air force. While celebrating 100th anniversary I have noticed a very important statement which was made by our President Mr. Putin which I welcome. I was insisting on that for the last ten years, more than ten years.
What I mean - Mr. Putin said - the Russian air industry and the Russian air force are going to develop in a broad way the unmanned aerial vehicles, said Gennady Yevstafiev - retired Lieutenant General of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service in an interview to the Voice of Russia.
Meaning the drones?
And the UAVs?
And it is closely connected with what I have said before - RPA opens a broad sphere of implementation of Russian technological knowhow which exists but which was under some suppression because there was a theoretical discussion whether we need this or we don't need this. Now the discussion is over.
Are you saying the US had no such discussions?
But as I've been talking to some pilots, they seem to be somehow looking down to those UAVs.
It is natural that air force people who are the pilots of the air force, they don't like those people sitting with the joysticks and manipulating the aerial vehicles. But mind you in the States there is a special base which is the Holloman Air Base in New Mexico and up to now they have already trained about 1300 people to pilot aerial vehicles, and most of them are not only reconnaissance but most of them are attack vehicles which are really piloted online and they could attack the target any time you want them to attack, every time you see the enemy on the ground you can immediately attack.
But that what makes them look like blind killer things, you know. But then their use has been growing.
The American society cannot allow big losses of real pilots from the air force and that's why the unmanned vehicles allow to really exclude big losses in pilots' lives. Of course the unmanned vehicles, including the attack vehicles are very vulnerable, there is no doubt. They are used in special situations because in the countries which have strong anti-aircraft system this comparatively slow-moving air vehicles are very vulnerable.
So, they are vulnerable and as far as I understand they are expensive, but like we said their use has been growing. Why?
In the conflicts with the American participation now there is no any real counterforce to American unmanned aerial vehicles, that's why they are using them broadly in the Afghan war, in the Iraqi situation and during the attack on the territory of Pakistan.
Frankly speaking of course it is not a sure fact that unmanned aerial vehicles are not vulnerable, yes, they are vulnerable and technically there are quite substantial losses but there is no human loss. Technical loss could be really recuperated whereas the human loss is really irretrievable.
Of course the main function of those devices, of course we know it is a military function, but do you think that they could also be used outside of the military sphere?
Yes, that's the main factor which is very disturbing because the US has created a number of bases specifically for unmanned aerial vehicles. There is one base in Yemen, there is another base in Africa and given the fact that African air defense is very weak we are going to see extremely broad use of aerial vehicles on the African subcontinent.
But there is another field of use of these vehicles, for example there are vehicles which could sustain about sixty hours in the air and these vehicles can pick up huge payload.
And for the reconnaissance purposes they are loitering along the Russian border, they could loiter sixty hours and really work very effectively in the reconnaissance area having on board special equipment.
So, the fact that Americans are using, and they are leaders in this field, mind you, they are effectively using these vehicles in the fight against the terrorists, it is the established fact. And we also fight the terrorists and we also need this kind of thing. Maybe sooner or later we will come to a conclusion that we also need some abroad bases for this kind of vehicles but we are still far from that. Let's wait and see how it is going to develop.
Do you remember Sir, there's been some discussion in the US of whether they could be used to monitor the situation in the streets or perhaps to monitor the situation during major demonstrations, for policing etc. And the public was not exactly enthusiastic about being monitored from somewhere up in the skies.
That's true. Let me put it this way - in the West there was a very long and rather tedious discussion on whether it is good or not to have this kind of thing. And many air force men who were accustomed to the piloted aircraft were against this kind of thing because they couldn't imagine that there are people sitting on the ground with the joysticks that operate remote air craft.
They considered that the art of piloting is disappearing because it was considered that this art was a human exercise but now it has become really sort of technical gadget.
But it totally coincides with the idea of the distanced war. That is the kind of theory which was propagated by American military people that it is very important to have the so called distanced war in which even pilots of the aircraft should not come into the contact with the enemy's air defense.
This is some sort of further development of the idea of fire and forget. This was a theory and it's been practiced, and especially in Yugoslavia conflict when they fired at the Yugoslav air defense without coming into the area of the air defense of Yugoslavian army.
So, this is some sort of another line of development of the military strategy and we should not be behind that. By the way the conflict with Georgia which happened four years ago clearly showed that we at that concrete period lacked the necessary amount and quality of unmanned aerial vehicles and that's why we were really forced to send the airplanes for even reconnaissance purposes which were not really the type which should have been used at that time.
So, I'm absolutely clear that the discussion and arguments which were on both sides of the barricades have effectively ended. And the statement of the President clearly shows that this is something we are going to develop and this effectively puts an end to this kind of discussion.
So, in this sense I really look forward to see a major breakthrough in the Russian military attitude towards unmanned aerial vehicles, their use in the military operations and a very serious breakthrough in the industry of producing this kind of important military equipment of the 21st century because this technology was considered one of the two technologies which would define the face of air force and the air force related fields in the 21st century.
Sir, thank you so much. And just to remind you our guest speaker was our expert Gennady Yevstafiev - retired Lieutenant General of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.
Source: Voice of Russia
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