At the beginning of the special operation in Ukraine, Russianthe military showed the use of the Forpost UAV. Earlier it was also reported about the use of the same drones in the Donbass and in the military conflict in Syria. They are able to fly at an altitude of up to 6 kilometers and stay in the air for up to 18 hours. Initially, these UAVs were created exclusively as reconnaissance aircraft. However, they were later modernized, and are now equipped with high-precision weapons. As we said earlier, Russia already has an Orion drone, which is called the “Russian Bayrktar”. This raises the question - what are the similarities and differences between these UAVs, do they compete with each other and which one is considered the most promising?
The history of the creation of the UAV Forpost
UAV Forpost, unlike the same Orion, is not an independent development of Russian engineers. It was created on the basis of the Israeli Searcher Mk II drone, created by the IAI concern.
For the first time, the Searcher UAV was presented in the distant1990, and two years later it was adopted by the Israel Defense Forces. It had a mass of 207 kg, a length of 5.15 m and a wingspan of 7.22 m. Its cruising speed was 194 km / h, and its range was 220 km. At that time it was really an advanced development.
In 1998, an updated model appeared -Searcher Mk II. The drone has become almost twice as light - its mass is 120 kg. At the same time, the carrying capacity has become higher, since the wingspan has increased to 8.55 meters. It also received a more powerful engine. The maximum speed has increased from 194 to 200 km/h, however, the cruising speed has dropped to 146 km/h.
In 2009, Russia purchased two Israelidrone Searcher II with a total value of $ 12 million, and a year later signed a contract for the assembly of these UAVs at the Kazan Helicopter Plant. In 2012, the production of Forpost reconnaissance complexes, which included UAVs and control vehicles, was launched at the Ural Civil Aviation Plant.
Upgraded strike drone Forpost R
In 2019 the Ministry of Defense of Russiapresented a modernized Forpost-R drone. It has a takeoff weight of 500 kg and a flight altitude of up to 6 km. The duration of the flight, as mentioned above, reaches 18 hours. According to the press service, the drone was created with Russian components, in particular, the APD-85 power plant. It is also equipped with domestic software.
The main feature of the modernizeddrone - he received strike weapons. Now the UAV is capable of carrying two aerial bombs weighing 50 kg each or two guided missiles. The cost of one UAV is about 7.5 million US dollars.
What is the difference between UAV Forpost and Orion
As you probably already understood from the characteristicsboth drones, they belong to different classes. The wingspan of the "Russian Bayraktar" is 16.3 m, and the takeoff weight is 1000 kg. The drone is capable of carrying combat equipment weighing 200 kg. The device is able to stay in the air during the day.
The outpost, as we found out, is half the size of Orion.Accordingly, each device is good for solving its own goals. That is, in situations where the Forpost UAV can solve combat missions, it is not advisable to involve Orion for this.
In general, Orion is more technological andpromising platform. Its full potential has yet to be unleashed. This is evidenced by the fact that new weapons and reconnaissance systems continue to be developed for UAVs. According to the experts themselves, the Orion drone also has the potential for constant modernization.
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The outpost was taken into service as a temporarymeasure when UAVs own lightweights were missing. However, the machine turned out to be very successful, so a Russian version of the machine with strike weapons was created.
Finally, we note that the era of drones inRussia is just beginning. The functions of these machines are constantly expanding. And this happens not only in Russia, but all over the world. Currently, drones cannot occupy only the niche of attack aircraft. However, there are flying projectiles and kamikaze drones that can also cope with the task of attack aircraft, but this is a separate topic for conversation. In general, the use of modern drones is called a step towards the introduction of robots in the army. But the “rise of the machines” should not be feared. Do you want to know why? Follow this link.