Russia to develop missile defence blimps

Russia is planning to introduce airships with radar capabilities as part of its missile defence system, according to military and civil radio-tech contractor KRET.

KRET is a subsidiary of Russia's Rostec contractor which is currently developing a wide variety of modern military units including designing and building "several hundred" drones for the Russian military by 2025. Rostec's amphibious 'Duckling' drone is to enter production next year.

According to Vladimir Miheev, KRET's deputy head, the airship which is currently under development will patrol airspace by using radar and will be able to detect potential missile attacks.

"The main advantage of an airship is the large surface area which lends itself well to the installation of antenna systems," Miheev told news agency Itar-Tass.

KRET are currently developing the locators which are set to go on the airships and are working closely with the airship manufacturers who are creating the prospective aircraft which will be used by the Ministry of Defence.

According to KRET's official website the armed forces are scheduled to receive one of these 'Atlant' airships by the end of 2018 and KRET are in the process of adding their own kit to the airship.

There is no word on the size of the preliminary order for Atlant airships, however this is one of several ongoing projects to introduce cutting edge technology into the Russian military's arsenal.

The Ministry of Defence has a target of increasing the proportion of equipment considered "modern" to 70% by 2020, up from 10% in 2010.

The Ministry is presently working on several prospective projects including flying surveillance drones, remote control rocket strike system, marine rescue robots and even an anthropomorphic, Terminator-like robot.