On August 12, Russian media announced that Russian armed forces would deploy long-range armed UAVs in 2021. This is a supplement to the S-70 Hunter heavy strike UAV, which will be delivered in 2024, one year ahead of schedule. This shows that Russia has been paying more attention to sophisticated weaponry in the months after Turkish drones hit the air defense system Russia helped Syria build. Lieutenant general Sergey drorov, deputy commander in chief of the Russian air force, said that in 2021, the army will begin to receive multi-purpose long-range UAVs, which can not only conduct aerial surveys, but also attack enemy facilities with high-precision weapons.
The identity of the new UAV has not been disclosed, but in the past few years, Russia has developed and tested many large UAVs, which are at different stages of development. Two of the more advanced, stealthy drone hunter and the Altius u, which are reported to have 24-hour endurance, may not be in use for several years. Samuel bendett, a Russian project consultant at the think tank cna and an expert on Russian unmanned military systems, said there were many possible candidates, including “right front”, “Orion”, “cross” and “oran-30”.
The “forpost-r” is an intelligence / surveillance / reconnaissance UAV, a slightly modified and “Russian” copy of Israel’s seeker IIA, which was originally flown in 1998. It has a wingspan of 28 feet (8.53 meters) and can carry a 150 pound (68 kg) payload. The Russian version flew successfully for the first time last year, and the Russian army ordered 10. It has a range of 18 hours and a cruising speed of about 80 miles per hour (110 km / h), and the ability to extend missions with longer ranges and long endurance capabilities, but is generally considered only as a reconnaissance asset.
Orion is a larger UAV with a wing span of 15 meters and a payload (or bomb load) of more than 180 kg. It has already played a role in experimental units and seems more likely to be a candidate for attacking roles. Bendit said the Russian Ministry of defense has purchased several for this year’s test and evaluation, and has conducted tests in Syria in combat mode. Russia’s defense industry began to design ammunition specifically for the UAV, including 20 to 45 kg of weapons, with a range of 96 km. In a special operation in Syria, the efficiency of UAVs has been confirmed, which further enhances the possibility that Orion will become a new type of attack UAV.
The “cross” is a small, multi-functional UAV with a wing span of 6.7 meters, which hardly attracts people’s attention. “Oran” – 30 UAV is small in size and load. It is the upgraded version of “Oran” – 10 Tactical Reconnaissance UAV launched in 2010, and is the main force of Russian Tactical UAV. In particular, some components of olan-10 seem to be made in the United States. Although Russia has not used the armed version of olan-10, it seems that copies of oran-10 filled with explosives have repeatedly played an offensive role in Syria.
Bendit said that no matter what model drorov mentions, the new aircraft is likely to move quickly into Syria to enhance the base’s defense capabilities and protect Russian troops and allies. Compared with countries like the United States, Russia seems to have a lot to catch up with in UAV warfare. The United States has been using this system for combat since 2001 and has been deployed for a longer period of time. In this regard, the United States and Israel have decades of practical experience in using UAVs for different roles, but countries willing to put their technology into the field can quickly bridge the learning gap in using such technologies.
The experimental deployment of Orion and uranus-9 unmanned tanks in Syria proved this willingness to put technology into actual combat. As bendit points out, UAVs are growing faster and cheaper than manned aircraft. In 2014, Russia formulated a 10-year comprehensive plan for paramilitary robots to accelerate the deployment and use of unmanned systems. In Ukraine and Syria, unmanned systems have been successfully deployed for reconnaissance and command of artillery fire, and the next move to drones is logical and could be an increasingly important step in Russia’s military strategy.
Editor in charge: GT