Russian state media on Sunday visited the Tambov bakery, situated 400 kilometers south of Moscow, where it is claimed that alongside the bread it bakes its staff are assembling First Person Viewed (FPV) drones for the military.
The TV report followed up an earlier report by the Kremlin-sponsored Rossiiskaya Gazeta, which first reported on the Tambov Bakery’s drone production in March this year.
The publication said that the bakery not only provided Russian troops with bread but along with other local businesses had been sending medicines and personal equipment to the front.
Tambov Bakery’s deputy director, Alexander Rudik said in March that his staff had started assembling the quadcopter unmanned aerial vehicles, which they had dubbed “Bekas (Snipe)” following an urgent request from the soldiers to whom it had supplied bread.
“Last year, the military asked to send drones — the more the better,” said the former communications officer now a reserve lieutenant colonel.
On Sunday, a Rossiya 1 correspondent Yuriy Chicherin not only showed the drones side-by-side with freshly baked bread on an assembly line but witnessed the field the testing of one of the drones against a camouflage-painted van on which had been placed an Azov sticker.
Azov is the Ukrainian military formation hated by the Russian regime that resisted the siege of Mariupol for so long in 2022.
Inside the vehicle was a tailor’s dummy, whose lips had been painted bright red, leading Chicherin to comment: “The dummy has brightly colored lips, but this is acceptable for true Europeans.”
The report showed the drone, which was reportedly carrying one and a half kilograms of TNT, being flown into the van which was completely destroyed by the subsequent explosion.
Chicherin announced proudly that in addition to manufacturing 30 tons of bread each day, bakery staff produce more than 230 drones per month, which sell for 25,000-50,000 rubles ($250-500) a piece.
Rudik, the deputy director, said: “Some parts are purchased in the markets of Southeast Asia, some are printed on a 3D printer.”
The presenter goes on to explain that FPV drones are controlled directly by an operator who, from the first-person view (FPV) can clearly see where the drone is flying and which allows him to hit individual unprotected elements of the enemy’s military equipment.
After admiring loaves of bread and completed drones on a conveyor belt Chicherin says “Can you imagine? They smell like fresh bread.”
The propaganda watchdog, RussiaMediaMonitor.com, cast doubt on the reality of the claim after posting a download of the program on youtube.
The Russian activist group Udmurtia Protiv Korruptsii claimed that Russian companies had been converting public and private facilities for drone production earlier in the year.
It claimed that Aeroscan, the manufacturers of the Lancet kamikaze drone, and another drone manufacturer the Izhevsk Unmanned Systems Research and Production Company (IZHBS) had bought three shopping malls in Izhevsk and Novyi Dom.
The activist group claimed the two firms had evicted their tenants and were converting the facilities into UAV factories and commented “defense companies that can’t build anything themselves simply convert civilian facilities for their needs.”.
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