The United States has been among the most proficient adopters of drone technology for the battlefield of any national level military. The CIA was using drones for surveillance over conflict ridden areas as far back as the year 2000, and racked up the nation’s first confirmed kill with an unmanned aircraft only two years later, on February 4th, 2002.

The intended target, Osama Bin Laden, wasn’t actually there, it would turn out – but technologically speaking, that event changed a great deal about America’s war fighting doctrine.

Other nations have also demonstrated a propensity for drone-based warfare, including Israel and China, but one military power that has lagged behind its competition in the realm of drone warfare is none other than the very nation recently touting their advanced missile technology: Russia. Despite Vladimir Putin’s claims regarding nuclear-powered missiles with limitless fuel reserves and ICBMs that can decimate entire states, advanced unmanned aerial vehicles remain elusive for the nation.

In fact, it wasn’t until 2014 that the Kremlin finally announced plans to begin developing an armed unmanned aerial vehicle. The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed they planned to field the 10-ton drone fighter by 2020, but the Kremlin’s recent push to retrofit weapons onto their legacy Searcher II platforms might indicate that their large-scale combat drone program may have fallen victim to tightening purse strings in the face of Russia’s stagnating economy.