Russian RUD-7 light quadcopter drone to operate in Ukraine from April

New RUD-7 reconnaissance/strike quadcopter that airdrops cargoes will begin operating in Ukraine in April, laboratory head of the Research Institute of Computing Complexes Vitaly Dolgov told TASS: “RUD-7 quadcopter was developed from RUD-250 drone upon a request from the Defense Ministry. It has to drop one or two items from the air. The new quadcopter was successfully tested in the Moscow region. It is scheduled to go to Ukraine in early April,” he said.
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UAV Zala 421-24 is one of the latest Russian developments. RUD-250 and, hence, RUD-7, probably have a similar appearance (Picture source: via

The RUD-250 drone (“reconnaissance and strike drone”) having given birth to the RUD-7 variant is being developed by the Moscow Research Institute of Computer Complexes. M.A. Kartseva (NIIVK). It is curious that at the stage of development or preliminary tests, this project was not reported. It became known about it only a few days ago, and by this time the UAV had managed to pass the first stage of trial operation in the troops.

The RUD-250 is capable of flying at up to 170 km/h. According to the expert, the maximum payload of the drone is 1.5 kg. "At the same time, in real work, the load goes up to 800 g, but we carried out tests at maximum load. If you attach 1.5 kg to the drone, it will calmly lift this mass and hang, but further piloting directly depends on the skills of the pilot. When loaded at 800 g, the device behaves quite adequately," Dolgov explained.

To use the RUD-250, the operator must complete a special training course, which takes about two weeks, reports. "The difficulty is that to control a drone without GPS, the operator must have certain skills. Flying in the first person always puts a strain on the vestibular apparatus. An unprepared person may feel dizzy, someone is sick. A person seems to be standing on the ground, sees everything from the cockpit and at the same time does not feel overloaded, and therefore gets a little confused. It's really hard. Also, when working with this drone, the operator must be well-oriented on the terrain, study the flight area before the flight, and so on," Dolgov said.

The original controls have been field-tested. To do this, the UAV was affected by the anti-drone guns of several models. Some of them managed to suppress the video signal transmission channel, but the control channel continued to work. Attempts to jam the GPS/GLONASS signal, for obvious reasons, did not give any result.

Like the RUD-7, the RUD-250 is a multi-rotor helicopter (quadcopter) with small dimensions - the length and width should not exceed tens of centimeters. The take-off weight is only a few kilograms. The maximum load is declared at the level of 1,5 or 2kg. If necessary, the payload can be increased to 5kg. The developers report that with such a load, the device is able to take off and hang, but the control becomes difficult and requires good training from the operator. At the same time, in real situations, it is recommended to hang no more than 800 g. The UAV runs on electricity. The presence of batteries is mentioned, but the characteristics, configuration and principles of operation of the power plant are not disclosed. At the same time, the maximum flight speed is claimed to reach 170 km/h.. Other flight characteristics are not specified.

The new UAV uses traditional means of remote control. It is also equipped with a camera and a communication system for transmitting a video signal "from the first person". The image is transmitted to virtual reality glasses.

Two-week courses have been developed to train operators. During this time, the specialist masters the principles of management of the drone. In particular, as the developers note, such control methods put an increased burden on the senses, and the discrepancy between what is seen and what is felt can adversely affect well-being.

It was previously reported that RUD-250 is a "kamikaze/suicide drone". How exactly this principle is implemented and what kind of combat load the drone then carries is not mentioned but it can lift various types of ammunition. At the same time, the Russian army would like to receive a UAV with the ability to drop the combat load and return.

It was earlier reported that five RUD-250 drones were being tested in Ukraine without GPS navigation but also without (yet) being invulnerable to electronic warfare guns.

For the first time, the RUD-250 product was mentioned in the open press on February 9 by the TASS news agency. Vitaly Dolgov, head of the laboratory for external piloting and operation of unmanned aircraft at NIIVK, spoke about the project and its features. Some technical details and test information are provided. At the same time, the appearance of the UAV remains unknown.

It is reported that NIIVK previously produced a trial batch of five drones RUD-250. It was handed over to one of the units participating in the Special Operation for testing and trial operation in combat conditions. The military testers have already made an opinion about the new UAV, and also compiled a list of recommendations for the further development of the project.

V. Dolgov said that the military is talking about the need to equip the drone with a payload with the possibility of dropping it. You also need to replace the battery, improve communications, etc. The control panel will also undergo refinement - it was considered not strong enough. In order to increase resistance to electronic warfare, satellite navigation was abandoned.

On February 11, TASS published new data on the RUD-250 UAV, again received from the head of the laboratory. This time the NIIVK representative clarified the composition and cost of the system. According to him, the kit, which includes five drones, control panels, batteries, operator glasses, etc., costs about 300 rubles. Depending on the configuration and characteristics, the cost may vary.

Defense News March 2023