3,500 Drone Operators Trained in russia, Ministry of Defense Claims

russian forces have been using FPV drones against Ukrainians to great effect, too / Photo source: russian media
russian forces have been using FPV drones against Ukrainians to great effect, too / Photo source: russian media

So many drone operators need a lot of drones to work with, and that is an indicator of a problem for Ukraine

The Ministry of Defense of russia has announced a significant result of training for drone operators in its 2023 annual report. According to the document, cited by russian media, 3,500 FPV drone operators and an additional 1,700 teams for other unmanned aerial vehicles, have been prepared. The large-scale training program involved more than 800 educational facilities and the creation of over 1,500 learning spaces, the ministry reported.

These are important figures since they reflect the scale of russian strategic investment in this type of weapon and potentially even the number of FPV drones the russian armed forces need.

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russian FPV drones
A russian FPV drone / Photo source: russian media

Based on the average experience of FPV drone application against the russians by the Ukrainian forces, one operator can dispatch up to 15 FPVs per day, assuming the drones are not in short supply.

Even if we conservatively estimate one russian operator launches one FPV drone a day, this would imply a need for 105,000 drones per month or 1.25 million over a year. Considering that the formula of 1 operator to 1 drone per day is unlikely, the actual demand for FPV drones in the Russian military could be much higher.

Given the reported number of operators in Russia and their potential drone needs, the assessment by Forbes Ukraine that the russian industry has the capacity to produce 300,000 FPV drones per month does not seem exaggerated.

This suggests that Ukraine's plan to produce a total of 1 million FPV drones in 2024, signaling a 67% increase in production rates, should be not an aspired outcome but rather a baseline goal for further improvement.

Plus, in order to be successful in this war of attrition, Ukraine will have to not only keep up in FPV assembly rates but also in fielding counter-UAV equipment and weapons.

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