Kazakhstan’s indigenous military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) took its first test flight, underlining the strides the Central Asian nation has taken to domestically develop drones.
The prototype of the catapult-launched “Shagala” (Seagull) reconnaissance UAV has been developed by the military scientists of the country’s National Defense University, the Kazakh government said in a statement.
Shagala is equipped with hardware and software communication channels and has its own cryptographic protocol, along with secure communication channels, the statement added.
“It is gratifying to see the desire to provide troops with domestic developments in the field of UAVs,” said Kazakhstan’s Deputy Defense Minister Lieutenant General Timur Dandybaev. However, Kazakhstan’s first domestic military drone should “not be the same as such foreign devices,” Dandybaev added. When developing the tactical and technical aspects of domestic technology, “it is necessary to take into account all the needs of the Kazakh army and the geographical features of our defense,” he concluded.
Power Supply System Resists Low Temperatures
The flight test gave the developers an opportunity to test the latest design of the power supply system installed in the aircraft designed to resist low temperatures, the statement said, adding that the rechargeable battery developed for the vehicle is “unique.”
“Shagala can fly up to a range of 30 kilometers [18.6 miles] and remain in the air for a maximum of two and a half hours,” said the head of the military research center Colonel Kuandyk Akshulakov, adding that the drone can deal with wind gusts of up to 50 kilometers (31 miles) per hour.
During the trial, the drone performed in various modes of operations, the statement said without giving further details. The development of the vehicle has been patented and once the trials are finished, its data will be transferred to Kazakhstan’s defense industry.
Ecosystem Ready to Sustain UAVs’ Domestic Production
The Kazakh government further stated the country has developed an ecosystem for the mass production of military drones, which includes introducing programs in technical and educational institutions that prepare technicians and operators, as well as practical programs where combat training is provided to drone operators.
The latest development comes a few months after a delegation of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Defense visited Turkey’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Base Command in the southeast city of Batman in November last year and reportedly expressed its desire to buy Bayraktar TB2 UAVs.