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The English version of the Moscow Times website is out with an http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/solving-the-drone-deficiency/444129.html">an op-ed piece heaping praise on La Jolla's General Atomics and the success of its Predator drones, operated by the CIA in Pakistan and other war zones around the world.

Entitled "Solving the Drone Deficiency," the piece by Konstantin Makiyenko, an analyst at the Center for Analytical Strategy and Technology in Moscow, argues that the Russians could learn a few lessons from the General Atomics operation.

"Whenever there is a discussion about why Russia’s military is less technologically advanced than the United States, the conversation usually centers on Russia’s inability to produce its own drones.

"This weakness was particularly glaring during the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008.

"Drones are precisely the tool that Russia will need the most if the situation in Central Asia worsens and a military solution is required.

"The dominant role that drones have played in U.S. and NATO conflicts over the past 10 years underscores their importance in modern warfare."

Makiyenko criticizes the Russian military contractor Vega Company, "the leading drone developer that has swallowed 5 billion rubles ($158.5 million) of government funding with little to offer in return," then goes on to praise General Atomics.

"The United States was tremendously successful when the relatively small firm of General Atomics, based in San Diego, became the global leader in drone manufacturing with their highly successful Predator model. General Atomics outperformed the other huge U.S. defense contractors, such as Boeing and Northrup Grumman, in this sector."

"Russia, too, has quite a number of innovative companies similar to General Atomics that could one day become a competitive drone manufacturer with the right amount of investment, research and development.

"These companies are more mobile and flexible than Vega. Most important, they are not corrupted by multibillion-dollar government contracts and years of unaccountability, but are instead accustomed to risking their own money and relying on innovation."

The piece originally ran in Vedomosti, a Russian business daily.

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Comments

BradleyFikes Sept. 23, 2011 @ 12:48 p.m.

Interesting, Matt! I wrote a brief on this for the North County Times -- giving you credit, of course.

How do you find these things?

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 24, 2011 @ 1:29 a.m.

GA is no Boeing or Northrup Gruman but they are not a small company by any means, their Torrey Pines campus is huge.......

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