Manned crews in the Arctic face aircraft icing, volatile sea ice and extreme temperatures without support or communications infrastructure, the U.S. defense think tank RAND has explained.
Russian state industrial conglomerate Rostec is the latest player to enter the unmanned aerial vehicles market, with one of its subsidiaries announcing last week a partnership with a Latvian startup to make tiltrotor convertiplanes for the Arctic.
At least two major Russian companies have developed and begun tests of helicopter drones with higher payloads and longer ranges adapted for the Arctic.
Russian researchers are looking into ways to make drones fly for four straight days and take off and land vertically at top speed, while the government is funding university-level research into Arctic UAVs.
The Russian military said last month it was considering using attack drones to protect its national borders in remote parts of the Arctic and the Far East.
Drones in the Arctic are attractive for their potential to save both money and lives, Center for Naval Analyses adviser Samuel Bendett told Forbes.
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