Russia Delays Tests of UAE Drone (United 40 Block 5)

The Russian military has postponed tests of a high-endurance drone until an unspecified future date, a spokesperson for the United Arab Emirates company that makes the vehicle said Monday.

“All existing agreements will remain in force, but the Russian side has requested a delay in testing from February until a later date,” Tatyana Kirova of Adcom Systems said.

United 40 Block 5
United 40 Block 5


CEO Ali Al Dhaheri said in December that the first test drone would be delivered for evaluation this month, to be followed by a purchase agreement if test flights were successful.

The aircraft was debuted internationally at the MAKS air show outside Moscow last summer two months after Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the country’s drone projects were inferior to foreign offerings.

The Adcom Systems United 40 Block 5 is a long-range medium-altitude reconnaissance vehicle that can loiter above a single area for over four days, according to the company’s website.

The drone, powered by twin turboprops, features steerable cameras and radar for reconnaissance missions and is capable of carrying almost a half-ton of weapons mounted on hard points under the craft’s wings.

The United 40 would not be the first foreign drone purchase for the country. In 2009 Russia bought 12 drones from Israel Aerospace Industries in a deal worth $53 million that attracted criticism for neglecting the domestic aerospace industry.

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