Orion drones delivered to Russian armed forces
The Russian Defense Ministry signed an acceptance act for the first Orion drone of Kronshtadt Company in the spring of 2020. The complex of three drones is supplied to the troops for test operation.
The acceptance act is a major achievement of the project and a landmark in the development of Russian unmanned aviation. Orion is the first modern UAV of the size supplied to the military. The Army Standard online publication describes the creation history and the capabilities of the first Russian combat one-ton drone.
Orion design began in 2011, as it became clear it would be impossible to obtain drones of the class from foreign makers, such as Israel.
Orion was designed by technical requirements of the Defense Ministry in the framework of Inokhodets R&D.
Tranzas Company won the tender to create the Russian medium-altitude UAV of the MALE class. Vega Company and the Tupolev also bid.
Tranzas was then reformed and the Kronshtadt drone division was acquired by Sistema Financial Company. It invested a lot into drone design and the work intensified.
Orion has a normal aerodynamic scheme with a 16-meter wing in the middle and V-shaped tail fins. Maximum takeoff weight is 1200 kg. The drone and mechanisms are made of carbon plastic composite materials to decrease the glider weight. Vacuum infusion technology was introduced. The drone has an electric impulse anti-icing system for operation in low temperatures.
A piston engine is in the tail to rotate and push a two-blade propeller. APD-115T engine was designed by Itlan Company and is likely an analogue of the Austrian Rotax 914 of 115 HP used in various drones, including US heavy Predator.
AV-115 adjustable pitch propeller was designed by the Russian Aerosila Company. It is the first in the family of highly effective drone propellers.
Orion can fly 24 hours at altitudes of 7500 meters. Its communication system was designed by Luch Bureau in Rybinsk. The range is 250 km. The drone takes off and lands automatically as an airplane with three retractable wheels.
It can carry a 200-kg payload, including the multichannel MOES stabilized electronic monitoring system. It was designed by Precision Instrument-Manufacturing System Corporation to detect and track targets day and night and provide guidance for weapons.
The drone can carry a radar or a photo survey unit, as well as reconnaissance and electronic warfare means. The equipment is accommodated in a compartment under the central fuselage.
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