The Russian defense conglomerate Rostec is once again attempting to pass off equipment bought on AliExpress as its own development which “has no equivalents in the world," reports the Russian news outlet The Moscow Times.
The incident involves the "Clean freak" anti-drone system, which was recently showcased to the public at a conference in Moscow by the Russian Research Institute "Cyclone," a part of Rostec. Alexey Kravchenko, the director of the institute, praised the alleged invention and claimed that it was being developed in response to high demand.
However, it soon became apparent that the "Clean freak" anti-drone system had Chinese origins. Further investigation revealed that the same product was available on the Chinese marketplace AliExpress, with prices ranging from $700 to $2,000 depending on the configuration. The specifications of these devices matched those claimed by the Russian "developers," including the ability to disrupt the signals of unmanned aerial vehicles within a distance of up to 1 km.
Interestingly, Rostec has a history of becoming embroiled in scandals by presenting Chinese developments as their own creations. Their strategy involves purchasing a batch of Chinese equipment, attaching labels with Russian names to the devices, and reselling them to the Russian Ministry of Defense at significantly inflated prices, often exceeding the original price by 10 times.
An example of this scheme is the Siberian-1 drone. On AliExpress, this low quality UAV can be purchased for 200,000 rubles ($2,234). However, the Russian Ministry of Defense sells it for 2.5 million rubles ($28,000) per unit, making it more than 12 times more expensive.
Similarly, the Russian drone Dobrynya was exposed as actually being the Chinese Flight Nazgul5 Evoque F5, which is available on AliExpress for $550. The Russian army, however, purchases it for a significantly higher price of $2.1 thousand.