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Russia mulls military drones for arsenal

July 18, 2013 at 9:50 AM

MOSCOW, July 18 (UPI) -- The Russian military said it was looking to purchase missile-ready unmanned aerial drones from the United Arab Emirates.

An industry source told state-supported news agency RIA Novosti the military was interested in buying dozens of the armed pilotless aircraft.

"We are talking about at least two United 40 Block 5 models developed by the company ADCOM Systems," the source said Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

The United 40 is categorized as medium-altitude drone capable of carrying 10 missiles with a delivery range of up to 35 miles.

The Russian military began exploring the use of drones in 2008 when its aerial surveillance options were limited during a brief conflict with Georgia, a former Soviet republic.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was criticized this year for ordering snap military drills near the coast of Georgia. The drills were described as a preparation for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, near the Georgian coast.

The Russian military this week conducted war games exercises in its Western District, an area stretching from its northern border near Finland to its southern border with Ukraine.

More than 40 military aircraft took part in the drills, covering more than 2,500 miles in 80 sorties.

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