MOSCOW TIMES & NEWSHOUR24?Russia?s Rostec State Corporation is in talks with France?s ECA Robotics to begin production of bomb-disposal robots in Russia that can be used by offshore oil drilling companies.
The project was initially proposed by the Russian Navy but is intended primarily for civilian customers, such as Rosneft and Gazprom, that operate drilling platforms in the northern seas, [which are] still rife with mines left over from World War II.
An agreement to produce some of the components for the machines and their remotely controlled mine-detonation systems at Russian factories is expected to be signed this winter.
Under the proposed terms of the deal, ECA Robotics would deliver most components for the submersibles, while Rostec would assemble them, equip them with domestically designed remote-control systems and then install them on ships.
“We are talking about manufacturing remotely controlled machines for deactivating explosive objects,” an unidentified official told the business publication, Kommersant (literally, “The Businessman”).
Andrei Frolov, editor-in-chief of Export Vooruzheny (Arms Export) magazine, voiced some concerns about possible challenges to the project.
“There are certain difficulties involved in producing bomb-disposal machines in Russia, arising from the fact that following the Soviet collapse, some of the production facilities ended up outside of Russia, particularly in Kazakhstan,” he said.
Officials at Gazprom and Rosneft refused to comment about whether their companies would be interested in such robots.