Russia to teach combat drone operation to all school children
The UK Ministry of Defense has claimed that Russia will be teaching all school children the basics of combat drone operation in an updated curriculum. The lessons will include unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) reconnaissance and combating enemy drones.
The UK Ministry of Defense cited Russian senator Artem Sheikin in making the claim. Sheikin said that the lessons would be more cultural than practical, but that they would highlight how Russia has recognized the use of tactical UAVs in Ukraine as an enduring component of contemporary warfare.
Russia has used drones effectively in Ukraine, both for carrying weapons and for reconnaissance. The Lancet drone has been used to kill and disable Ukrainian armor, while waves of Iranian-made Martyr series drones have been used to strike deep into Ukrainian territory.
Russia expands military training for high schoolers to include drones.
Ukraine has also used drones effectively in the war. Turkish Bayraktar TB2 combat drones were widely used by Kiev in the initial phase of the war, and small tactical quadcopters continue to be used to drop grenades and mortar bombs on enemy troops. Ukraine has also popularized the use of naval drones to attack the Black Sea Fleet port at Sevastopol.
The new curriculum will also include training in assault rifle skills, hand grenade skills, and combat first aid. The training will be included in an existing mandated curriculum called Fundamentals of Life Safety (FLS), but teachers have expressed concern that lesson plans are already packed with topics.
The UK Ministry of Defense said that Russia’s renewed push for military induction for kids is “an attempt to cultivate a culture of militarized patriotism rather than to develop real capability.” Critics have suggested that the introduction of militarism into the Russian curriculum is intended to provide a baseline for soldiers and volunteers who were slated for partial mobilization in 2022 but faced less training and preparedness.
The invasion of Ukraine has also been added to the history lesson plans of 10th and 11th grade students. Younger students are also required to participate in weekly patriotic classes called “Critical Conversations.”
The new curriculum has been met with mixed reactions. Some parents have welcomed the opportunity for their children to learn about combat drones and other military skills, while others have expressed concerns about the militarization of education.
It remains to be seen how effective the new curriculum will be in cultivating a culture of militarized patriotism in Russia. However, it is clear that the Kremlin is taking steps to prepare its youth for the possibility of future conflict.
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