Behind the "Scalpel" UAV: Unmasking the Truth of "Vostok" Design Bureau's Latest Project - Real Deal or Cardboard Mock-Up?

In September 2023, the Russians announced the release of a new drone named 'Scalpel.' It was introduced as a 'budget alternative to Lancet.' The production of the 'Scalpel' combat models was promised by October 2023.


However, after analyzing information about this UAV, Molfar analysts found similar drones, the manufacturers of which are in China. Is the Russian 'Scalpel 'Just a cardboard mock-up and a smokescreen in a scheme to supply Russia with drones from China? Read more about this in the article.



Unveiling the "Scalpel": Key Details About the UAV


At the end of summer 2023, Russian propaganda media wrote about this drone, claiming that 'Scalpel' is not just an alternative to the Lancet drone but a unique Russian drone with several advantages. This UAV can reach speeds of over 120 km/h. Its flight range is up to 40 km and can carry up to 5 kilograms. Of course, all these are approximate characteristics and may vary depending on the modifications. However, it's worth noting that the 'Scalpel' is compared explicitly to the Lancet in Russian media.

As we can see, these drones are visually similar to each other, as if 'Scalpel' is a modification of 'Lancet-3'. However, we see a difference in their specifications.

This photo of the 'Scalpel' drone was published in the Russian Telegram group UAV Operator Chronicles.' In the comments, Russians have already dubbed it 'cheap Lancet.'

In September, the Russian design bureau 'Vostok' (LLC KB Vostokannounced the start of mass production of 'Scalpels.' According to the statement, some components are foreign manufactured. Still, mostly, it is a product of the Russian military machine, and they announced that these drones would be released in October 2023.

The prototypes of the Scalpel drone appear to be made of wood

According to articles in the media (12), the 'Scalpel' drone has already undergone testing and will soon be deployed in the war against Ukraine. The 'Vostok' Design Bureau has already received orders from Russian military units. However, some parts of this drone are foreign, specifically Chinese. According to this photo, five drone prototypes have been created so far.



"Scalpel": A Cardboard Mock-Up?


As of September 2023, several photos (12) have been published where the 'Scalpel' has model numbers from 001 to 005. The video demonstrating the drone mentions that the UAV was launched into production in October 2023. However, there needs to be more information regarding how the 'Vostok' Design Bureau operates as a supplier of manufactured products.

These drones are painted, but inside, they are of a different color, as they are made of wood or polystyrene

In this photo, we see that the interior part of the drone is a different color. The drone is likely made of wood or polystyrene. In the image, they are placed on polystyrene plates manufactured by the "Penoplex Fondament" company.


In September 2023, on its channel, the "Vostok" Design Bureau published a list of supplies for the Russian military in the temporarily occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions controlled by Russia. This list includes the Flsun V400 3D printer, which is likely used for printing drone components, as indicated in a similar campaign for a tank battalion of the unrecognized "DNR" group.


On the "UAV Chat" Telegram channel, Sergey Kalutsky, the director and co-founder of the "Vostok" Design Bureau, comments under a post about the "Scalpel" drone suggested that this drone is not a Lancet analog but an independent FPV drone with all its functions, just with wings. Also, a participant of this Telegram channel, Alexander Marchenko, notes that he saw a photograph of the drone in good quality and up close, leading him to suspect that the drone is partially printed and has a regular FPV camera in the front, as well as a standard radio part with separate control channels and video channels. Some comments (12) state that the drone is partially made of polystyrene (foamlex).


This information indicates that the Scalpel may have a specific design, including using additional materials and FPV equipment to perform its functions. This helps us better understand what this drone can be used for and what it can't, as there is a significant difference between an FPV drone and a "loitering munition," which lies in the involvement of the drone operator.


In August 2023, a video from a Russian Telegram channel showed tests about the "Scalpel." There, another model was presented, which was launched by hand. The flight range of this model is 20 km, the speed is 150 km/h, and the maximum load is up to 3 kg. This is significantly different from the characteristics claimed on their website.

However, it seems that the manufacturers of "Scalpel" can't decide on the functionality and appearance that the drone should have.

The 'Scalpel' drone, which was shown on Telegram channels

This video was reposted on the Telegram channel of the "Vostok" Design Bureau. Initially, it was posted on the YouTube channel' 56th Parallel'. It showcased various UAVs. Specifically:


Let's analyze the photos of drones presumably developed by the 'Vostok' Design Bureau. It gives the impression that they are fake because:


  1. Identical photos of drones developed by the 'Vostok' Design Bureau with other drones from companies in Russia and China;
  2. Lack of information about the procurement of parts for creating drones at the 'Vostok' Design Bureau base;
  3. Absence of evidence regarding the production capabilities of the 'Vostok' Design Bureau;
  4. No information about the personnel of the 'Vostok' Design Bureau;
  5. In the photographs of the 'Scalpel' models, there is a hole in the front part of the drone, presumably for installing a video camera, but the camera compartment is missing, unlike similar models;
  6. In this photo of the drone with the number "002", it is noticeable that it is placed on a single support closer to the rear of the UAV, which may indicate its low weight and the virtual impossibility of lifting the load claimed by the developers;
  7. In the same photo of drone "002" testing, we see metal fittings in the nose, which are not present in photographs from inside the building.


The photograph with the three drones 003-005 was likely taken at the Sports and Technical Club "Technopark," where Sergey Kalutsky, co-owner of the 'Vostok' Design Bureau, teaches. The floor in the photo with the drones has the same tiles as the photographs in the school. Identical furniture was also noticed.

frame analysis of the video


Chinese Drones Disguised as Russian Technology


Chinese drones may be concealed under the guise of these supposedly Russian 'Scalpel' drones. It is likely that, with the help of the 'Vostok' Design Bureau, the Russian government plans to legalize Chinese drones. They have identical photographs to those supposedly "produced" by the 'Vostok' Design Bureau.


The 'Vostok' Design Bureau added photos of the Chinese drones Foxtech Great Shark 330 VTOL and Skywalker X8 on its website. After February 24, 2022, Foxtech Hobby Co and Skywalker Technology Co began supplying to Russia. The buyer was LLC "Atlant-Engineering," a construction equipment supplier registered in Moscow in 2016.


In June-July 2023, Foxtech Hobby Co supplied "Atlant-Engineering" with 500 video cameras (123) for aerial photography FH336. In February 2023, Foxtech Hobby Co delivered drones to Atlant Engineering. In July 2023, Skywalker Technology Co provided Atlant Engineering with 1.6 thousand sets of connectors (plug and socket), model XT60, and an unspecified number of cables with connectors. Atlant Engineering also received drone supplies from CUAV Tech Inc. in February 2023.


The complete list of drone and drone component supplies from China since February 2023 is shown in the table.


The domain was registered in March 2022. Since April 2022, the director of Atlant Engineering has been Lenar Nurakhmetovich Mingalimov, who was the founder of LLC "Vostok Credit" and LLC "Investment Company Vostok." LLC' Investment Company Vostok' is linked through its legal predecessor LLC "Media Service," which is connected with the dissolved LLC "Vostok Invest" and LLC “Vostok Stroy.”

Infographic Drone Comparison
Comparing the drones produced by KB Vostok with Chinese equivalents, we can see there are many similarities - at least visually.

A connection was discovered with the 'Vostok' battalion of the so-called dpr.


In September, Alexander Khodakovsky (FBInstVKTWOKTG), the head of the Rosgvardiya department of the so-called DNR and commander of the "Vostok" battalion, reported in his Telegram that the first samples of drones were delivered for testing and refinement. Khodakovsky also published photographs of drones resembling the declared "Scalpel" drones. He noted that the product costs 17 times less than the 'Lancet' drone. 


As mentioned in the Telegram post, the engineering team of the "Vostok" battalion created a UAV that completed 200 flights. As stated in the Telegram message in 2021, the company tried to develop a copter-type UAV. Still, it stopped due to poor resistance to electronic warfare. As stated in the Telegram post, in June 2022, Alexander met with Russian UAV engineers and designers.



"Vostok" Design Bureau: An Overview


"Vostok" is a design bureau located in Ryazan, closely associated with a Russian battalion of the same name. This battalion is involved in the Russian-Ukrainian war in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The design bureau was founded in July 2023 by Russians Sergey Kalutsky, Alexander Androsov, Ivan Erofeev, and Dmitry Klinshov. The bureau's website was created in May 2023 on the free platform "Mobirise." On this website, Molfar analysts found, among other things, a link to the Telegram channel of the "Vostok" Design Bureau, registered on March 30, 2023, with the first posts appearing in September 2023.


The "Vostok" Design Bureau's website also has a USDT (TRC20) crypto-wallet: TLM3zA3EWycoDX4ZX4gKze7sgfbdkntTum — it was also created in the spring of 2023, around the same time as the website and the Telegram group. About $158.54 was found in this wallet as of November 2023.


The "Vostok" Design Bureau's website has a link to a fundraiser. It was created by Sergey Kalutsky, who is listed as the organizer of the collection.


Despite such dubious financial standing, the "Vostok" Design Bureau plans to become a resident of the Aerospace Valley of Innovation (AKID), which opened in March 2023 in Ryazan. On their website, they state that they are involved in the production of three different drones:

  • Scalpel” — a kamikaze drone;
  • "Dobrynya" — a vertical take-off and landing drone for transporting small loads, which turned out to be a Chinese consumer drone;
  • "Phoenix" — a drone with an infrared camera for fire monitoring.
A screenshot from the website of KB 'Vostok', a list of drones produced by this company.

Deanonymization of Vostok Design Bureau management


Officially, the Vostok Design Bureau is located in Ryazan, at 63 Elektrozavodskaya Street, in the Aviator Club. Kalutsky is also the head of this club. At the same address is a five-story office building where 50 legal entities are registered.


Sergey Borisovich Kalutsky / Сергей Борисович Калуцкий

Sergey Borisovich photo

Born: May 9, 1978

Social MediaInstOKVKFB

Contacts: +79209901172, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Personal Data: Telegram ID: 121142064, Passport: 6104166004, TIN 622705329608, SNILS: 10678981397, TenChat


Co-founder (25%) and director of the "Vostok" Design Bureau since July 2023; co-founder (40%) of the computer software company Kid LLC (ООО "Кид") since April 2022; owner of the IT company Mitech Academy LLC (ООО "Митех академия") since June 2022.


Head (123) of the Ryazan Federation of Model Aircraft Sports and ANO "Technopark" (ANO STK "Technopark"), located at the same address as the 'Vostok' Design Bureau. Sergey Kalutsky was the director of Technopark until June 2022. Sergey is a teacher at the training center for drone operators (including military drones DJI Mavic Pro). According to a publication, he is the head of the Aviator club. In 2021, he participated in a championship of radio-controlled air combat. He was a co-organizer of children's competitions in model aircraft sports. 

On Telegram, Sergey is interested (12) in drone production, blockchain, and supporting the Russian army, participating in Telegram groups "UAVDEVChat," "UAVPro," and "blockchainlife."

In March, on the social network VKontakte, he commented "Beautiful" under a post about Lancet drones. He follows the groups "Donetsk DNR news SVO Donbas Russia Novorossiya," "Business in China," and "Zala Aero Group." On Facebook, he indicates that he lives in Moscow.



Alexander Vladislavovich Androsov / Александр Владиславович Андросов

Born: February 5, 1977


Contacts: +79055609208, [email protected], Telegram ID: 565852206

Personal Data: TIN: 344210936005, SNILS: 04995638930, photos (12


Co-founder (25%) of the legal entity "Vostok" Design Bureau. According to a 2009 publication, he was the deputy director of LLC "Rezon VC" (ООО "Резон ВЦ"). According to a 2018 publication, he worked as a deputy director in a company that develops CRM for businesses called "Okraina."


He is a butcher and founded and manages several companies in the Russian meat processing sector, developing a CRM system for this industry. Participates in professional conferences (12) as a speaker and publishes articles on conducting business in the food industry.


In 2015, he participated in a seminar for Orthodox missionaries. On Telegram, Yuri is interested (12) in food, agriculture, and food industry technologies, supporting the Russian army, and participating in Telegram groups dedicated to food, business, and restaurants. According to his Facebook page, he lives in Moscow and is married to Marina Androsova (FB).


In 2019, he worked at LLC "MPZ Bogorodsky" (MPZ Bogorodsky LLC / ООО “МПЗ “Богородский”"). On the Russian social network VKontakte, he follows the group “Donetsk DNR news SVO Donbas Russia Novorossiya.”



Ivan Vitalievich Erofeev / Иван Виталиевич Ерофеев

Born: January 11, 1981

Social MediaVKInst, +79109074048, [email protected], [email protected], Telegram ID: 194120786

Contacts: Skype: live:.cid.832ac907349b24ba

Personal Data: TIN: 623010712548, SNILS: 07439913192


Co-founder (25%) of the legal entity "Vostok" Design Bureau. From 2004 to 2009, he worked as a private entrepreneur and had experience working in various companies, including occupational safety. He also founded and led "Labor Reserves" from 2008 to June 2023.


According to a publication, he is a member of the board of the Federation of Underwater Sports of the Ryazan region, a member of the leading team of underwater sports "Stream," and a judge in underwater sports. He participated in the Ryazan region underwater sports championship in 2015. In 2019, he participated in New Year's celebrations at the center of aquatic sports activities. In April 2022, he participated in the Moscow Cup of Underwater Shooting.


Dmitry Genadievich Klinshov / Дмитрий Генадиевич Клиншов


Born: February 22, 1991

Social MediaVKInst (poss.), FB (poss.)

Contacts: +79537460603, [email protected]

Personal Data: TIN: 622903829218, SNILS: 16101173302


Co-founder (25%) of the legal entity 'Vostok' Design Bureau. According to a publication, he studied in 2018 at the Ryazan State Radio Engineering University in the Faculty of Radio Engineering. He obtained a degree (12) in “Wireless Technologies in Radio Engineering Systems and Devices.”


In 2020, he was a speaker at a labor productivity conference where he later worked. Since November 2019, he has joined the Ryazan Region Centre for Increasing Labor Productivity.

Dmitry also worked as an engineer at the Ryazan Instrument Plant for six years, managed agricultural and furniture projects, and was the Plant's Youth Center head.



Connections of "Vostok" Design Bureau with China


Sergey Kalutsky, mentioned at the exposé's beginning, is subscribed to the "Business with China" group on the social network VK. This suggests that the company wants to expand or establish business ties with China.


LLC "Vostok" Design Bureau reported that some components of their products are manufactured abroad, indicating international collaboration in production.


On the "Vostok" Design Bureau website, photographs of drones from the Chinese companies Foxtech and Skywalker were added. Foxtech Hobby Co and Skywalker Technology Co made deliveries to Russia after February 24, 2022, particularly for LLC "Trading House' Atlant-Engineering'".


According to insider information, a phone with the identifier 5483e545-cfa3-4e85-9788-316276655f2a was found at the address of LLC "Trading House' Atlant-Engineering'" on June 6, 2023, and at the address of LLC "Vostok" Design Bureau on August 23, 2023. This could indicate the physical presence or use of equipment associated with these addresses, potentially related to shipments from China.


The 'Scalpel' drone is a fake. However, this fact does not imply that the Russian drone industry is weak. This project is a cover for the legalization of Chinese drones. Moreover, the enemy studies and adapts the latest technologies in military drone production and finds new ways to circumvent sanctions for acquiring modern military technology.



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