Instead of giant freighters, Antonov aims for drone production

Ukrainian aircraft manufacturer opened a center for the development and production of unmanned aircraft in June this year

Maker of some of the largest and most impressive aircraft of all time, Antonov is diversifying its business in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to Reuters, the Ukrainian company began producing drones to support Kiev’s efforts in the war against the Russians, ongoing since February 2022.

Citing information released during a presentation by Ukroboronprom, the Ukrainian association of defense companies of which Antonov is a member, the agency says that the manufacturer opened a center for the development and production of unmanned aerial systems in June this year. The location of the facility is unknown.

In the Ukrainians’ view, the objective of Antonov’s new drone center is “with the aim of enhancing unmanned systems manufacturing capabilities and providing support to private unmanned systems manufacturers in terms of expertise and services”.

Gorlitsa drone (Antonov)

In addition to drone design and production, the Antonov facility also conducts experimental aerodynamic studies and develops flight simulators for training unmanned aerial vehicle operators, the report cites.

Antonov already has some experience in unmanned aircraft projects. In 2017, the manufacturer presented the “Gorlitsa” model, designed for military use in reconnaissance and target marking flights.

Drone war

Ukraine’s war is currently a battlefield that often involves the participation of unmanned aerial vehicles, whether observation models or kamikaze drones used in attacks. Both the Ukrainians and the Russians are using these devices in confrontations.

Shahed 136 drone

The Ukrainian side has even been undertaking very bold offensives deep into Russian territory, including attacks with unmanned aircraft on the center of Moscow and even against Russian military bases.

Last month, for example, drone strikes on Russian air bases destroyed at least one Tu-22M3 bomber and two Il-76M transport jets.


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