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Russia Proposes Drone Production in Middle East 

Russian arms conglomerate Rosoboronexport said it would propose building drone manufacturing facilities in the Middle East.

The proposal would be discussed at the UMEX 2024 conference, Abu Dhabi, along with presentations of Russian drones, Rosoboronexport stated in a press release.

“Company representatives will speak about broad capabilities in the field of industrial cooperation to localize drone production on the territory of the customer, hold joint work to create prospective samples with the use of major Russian competences in their design and combat engagement,” the state-run arms trader said.

Battle-Proven Experience

The offer would include service centers at local and regional level to overhaul and maintain drones from various manufacturers.

“The proposals have been formed on the basis of the rich experience of creating similar infrastructure in conditions of massive engagement of unmanned systems in real combat conditions,” the company added.

Exporters’ Response ‘Lukewarm’

Rosoboronexport claimed that it has successfully promoted the export of reconnaissance and armed drones such as Orlan-10E, Orlan-30, Orion-E, and the Kub-E loitering munition, which have proven themselves in combat.

Analyst specializing in Russian military capabilities at the Center for Naval Analyses Sam Bendett  told Defense News that the Kub and Orion have received “lukewarm” response from potential consumers.

“The ones that people want – the Lancet and most Orlans – are not available for export, and the ones that are available – KUB loitering munitions and Orion – receive a lukewarm reception,” he said.

Further Production Ramp-Up on Cards

Since the Ukraine war, Russia’s drone production has largely catered to growing domestic demand, leaving little for Moscow to export.

The country plans to ramp up the annual drone production to over 32,000 by 2030, three times the current level, Russian first Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov recently said.

Domestic drone producers would account for 70 percent of total domestic demand, he added.

To achieve that goal, Russia will invest 696 billion rubles ($7.66 billion) in the national drone project by 2030.

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