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Russian army to get Orlan-30 drone in 2020

The Russian army will receive the latest Orlan-30 drone in 2020, which is a new vehicle of Orlan family. It has been tested in Syria and at the Center-2019 strategic maneuvers. The drone is equipped with an electronic system and aiming complex. Experts believe drone engagement in combat conditions will considerably increase the effectiveness of artillery and aviation, the Izvestia daily writes.

Russian army to get Orlan 30 drone in 2020
Orlan-30 (Picture source:

Orlan-30 can reconnoiter targets and provide exact coordinates by GLONASS and GPS space navigation systems. Defense Ministry sources said laser illumination will be used for fire with smart artillery shells and for guiding precision air bombs. Orlan properly debuted in Syria and at Center-2019 maneuvers.

In early August, the Defense Ministry posted a video from Syria. It showed a mortar mine destroy a terrorist pickup hiding under a bridge. It is impossible to determine which drone provided guidance, as the footage does not show it. However, several sources said it was Orlan-30.

The new drone will increase the effectiveness of precision projectiles and guided air bombs, expert Anton Lavrov believes. "Laser illumination of the targets will provide sniper accuracy to artillery. Orlan-30 will interact with heavy artillery, e.g. Tyulpan 240mm mortars with Smelchak guided mines. 152mm artillery weapons fire Krasnopol shells. Their flight at the final stage is adjusted by laser marks on the target," he said.

Orlan-30 is irreplaceable for smart air bombs which are cheaper than missiles and were widely used in Syria.

The new vehicle resembles its predecessor Orlan-10. However, its launch weight is close to 30 kg which is twice as big as Orlan-10 has. The drone can fly to a distance of 300 km from the control post at a cruising speed of 150 km/h. Flight duration exceeds five hours. The characteristics allow effective engagement far behind the frontline.

The modular architecture allows changing the payload and onboard equipment. The drone is launched by a catapult which needs small sites and saves fuel. Any drone can operate as a relay for other vehicles.

240mm Tyulpan self-propelled mortars supplied to the army in early 1970s are the most powerful artillery weapons for the new drone. They were designed to destroy groups of armor, launchers and artillery in firing positions. The weapon can destroy command posts and communication hubs, bridges, river crossings and fortifications.

A minimal number of smart projectiles is necessary to destroy machineguns, tanks and armored personnel carriers. The artillery weapons can hit targets in deep adversary rear with sniper precision. Tyulpan has a range of 20 km and can fire smart mines Smelchak with 135kg high-explosive charge.

Orlan-30 can operate with Krasnopol 152mm smart projectiles fired by self-propelled Acacia and Msta-S artillery guns. Their range is 20 km, the Izvestia said.

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