Russia is mulling a plan to reverse-engineer the American MQ-9 Reaper drone that it recently forced down over the Black Sea.
The nation downed the unmanned platform when its Su-27 fighter jets collided with it on March 14, causing it to crash in international waters.
A spokesperson from the state-owned Rostec corporation said the wreckage of the surveillance drone “is of interest” to the country’s defense industry.
Any part of the system located by Russian vessels will be “stripped down to the last bolt” and subjected to thorough examination.
The representative further noted that Moscow is closely following the achievements of the foreign defense industry, especially its success in producing sophisticated defense systems.
“To create a successful product, one needs to understand what your competition is up to. That goes for drones, artillery, armored vehicles. and other types of weapons,” he said.
Ukrainian expert Oleksandr Karpyuk took to social media to react to speculation that Russia would make a copy of the MQ-9 to be used against enemy assets.
He said that if Moscow wants to develop a similar product, it must also have a highly sophisticated industrial complex and access to technology.
General Atomics’ Reaper drone utilizes a satellite connection to allow operators to use the system globally while remaining in the US.
Russia and Iran must first develop a satellite similar to the one that the MQ-9 is using if they want to create a replica.
“So, when you look at how and what decisions Russia and Iran have been copying all this time from foreign drones, you realize that the main thing they were copying was the form of the planner and the internal layout of the knots. This is their level. They will be able to copy the Reaper only in the form of a model,” Karpyuk wrote.
Furthermore, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said that any recovery effort would be difficult, as the Reaper likely broke up and sank in an area where the water is 4,000-5,000 feet (1,200-1,500 meters) deep.
Even if Russia was able to recover the wreckage, the US took “mitigating measures” to protect sensitive information.
“We are quite confident that whatever was of value is no longer of value,” Milley said.