By 2017, manufacturing plants in Russia's Far East are set to begin churning out underwater robots designed to carry out both military and civilian objectives, the TASS news agency reported Wednesday.
"Our goal is to create a cluster of underwater robotic equipment and systems in the Far East. We are now working to make this cluster something tangible, not just planned on paper," Georgy Antsev, general director of the Morinformsistema-Agat, a construction bureau that designs a range of systems for the Russian Navy, told TASS.
"We could have already launched it, but sanctions have taken their toll," he said, referring to the various waves of sanctions imposed against Russia by the West in connection with the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Developing Russia's Far East was one of President Vladimir Putin's stated priorities for his third term in the Kremlin. A special ministry was established to advance this goal in May 2012.