From September 13 to 17, a joint Russian-Kyrgyz exercise on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in the fight against drug trafficking was conducted in the Issyk-Kul Region of the Kyrgyz Republic.
The Russian delegation included representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Russian National Guard, the Ministry of the Interior of Russia, and ZALA AERO (a subsidiary of Kalashnikov Group), a leading manufacturer of unmanned aerial systems. Also participating were representatives of security agencies of the Kyrgyz Republic. The exercise was initiated by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Since 2008, unmanned aerial systems by ZALA have been used in Russian law enforcement agencies. ZALA trained more than 500 drone operators for the Ministry of the Interior of Russia and the National Guard.
The experience amassed over the years clearly demonstrates the advantages of such equipment. During three days, over eight flights were conducted in the mountains, over water bodies, as well as in urban areas. The main tool used to perform tasks was a complex using the ZALA 421-16E unmanned aerial system. This drone has seen the widest use by the Russian National Guard.
As part of the exercise, ZALA AERO staff, together with members of the special aviation operations units of the Russian National Guard, held methodological and practical training in tracking criminals, establishing communications in problematic areas, aerial photography, use of GIS, mapping of wild cannabis growing areas, search and rescue operations, and other special methods of using drones in the work of law enforcement agencies.
The results of the exercise were discussed at a field meeting of the Kyrgyz Republic State Coordinating Committee on Drug Control. Representatives of the UN, the Kyrgyz Republic, the interagency delegation of the Russian Federation and the local diplomatic corps noted the high effectiveness of unmanned aerial systems by ZALA used in law enforcement activities.
The exercise resulted in agreements to prepare for the establishment of a joint training center for unmanned aerial systems operators in the Kyrgyz Republic and to conduct a regional exercise using UAVs on Kyrgyz territory in 2022.