The Russian company behind the AK-47 assault rifle unveiled a new "suicide" drone that could have a significant impact on future warfare. Kalashnikov Group, the same family of companies that produces the iconic AK-47, revealed the KUB-BLA drone at the IDEX-2019 trade show in Abu Dhabi in February 2019.
The KUB drone, which is about four feet wide, is designed to destroy remote ground targets. According to the Kalashnikov’s news release, the drone can fly for 30 minutes at a speed of 80 mph and carries six pounds of explosives.
The drone's advantages in combat include hidden launch, the overall accuracy of the shot, noiselessness, affordability and ease of handling. This new weapon marks “a step toward a completely new form of combat,” said Sergey Chemezov, chairman of Russia’s state-owned Rostec arms manufacturer, which owns a controlling stake in Kalashnikov, according to Kalashnikov’s news statement on the launch.
Suicide drones are not new. Russian troops in Syria were targeted by the biggest-ever suicide drone assault in Syria last year, when a swarm of more than a dozen crudely assembled armed drones incorporating GPS guidance systems descended onto Russia’s Hmeimim air base in Syria.
The KUB drone is a complex system far more powerful and reliable than any crudely built unmanned device. Besides being faster and more accurate, the KUB drone is capable of delivering twice the explosive charge and has a greater range than any of the crude homemade devices that have been patched together by terrorists, according to the Kalashnikov representatives at the exhibition.