Present at the Unmanned Systems Exhibition and Conference (UMEX) 2024 between January 23 and 25 2024, Russia’s state arms exporting body, Rosoboronexport, are offering customers their services in constructing facilities in their home countries for the production and service of Russian autonomous systems.

Under American legislation designed to imposed limitations on Russian economic activity, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), many clients of Russia’s Defence industry are under increased pressure to shift away from the country as a defence exporter. 

“The only way Russia can still keep them interested is to offer them what nobody else would offer,” said GlobalData defence analyst Abhijit Apsingikar, when asked if Rosoboronexport was ‘giving away the shop’.

“While technology transfer and license assembly were already present, they still were limited.” continued Apsingikar. “No technology transfer is total, and the supply of critical sub-systems would still have to be supplied from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).”

While the transfer of service capabilities to outside countries would diminish the sector’s value to the Russian economy by transferring jobs outside of the country, the move could assist Russia in taking payment, an aspect of commerce that has been heavily affected by the US sanctions.

“This is especially relevant to India, which has recently opened its defence industry to allow 100% Foreign Direct investment,” said Apsingikar. “That way, Russia would still keep India interested in continuing its defence partnership, and with an option of a local production facilities it can manufacture several critical technologies within the country, in the process significantly developing a robust vendor ecosystem and enhancing the overall defence technology capabilities of the Indian aerospace and defence industry.”

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Reuters reported in March 2023 that Russian defence suppliers had been unable to meet commitments to the Indian Air Force because of the war in Ukraine.

Among the autonomous systems Rosoboronexport have offered at UMEX in 2024 and recent years, can be found unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) including the Orlan-10E, Orlan-30 and Orion-E reconnaissance/strike UAVs, and the Kub-E loitering munition, and the autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) Klavesin-1RE designed to operate at sea.