Russia’s first Orion reconnaissance drone to be delivered to troops by year-end

The latest Orion air reconnaissance drone is at the final stage of its trials and the Russian Defense Ministry will receive the first model of this unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) by the end of this year, Kronshtadt Group Chief Designer Nikolai Dolzhenkov told TASS on Thursday.

‘We are at the final stage of trials under a contract with the Defense Ministry. We are planning to deliver the first UAV system in the immediate future, possibly, even this year,” the chief designer said.

The timeframe of launching the drone’s serial production will depend on the Defense Ministry’s decision, he said.

Kronshtadt CEO Sergei Bogatikov told TASS at the MAKS-2019 aerospace show that the company was planning to deliver the first Orion drone to the Defense Ministry by the end of this year.

“We are sure that we will make the first deliveries at the end of this year,” the chief executive said.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko earlier said that the latest drone Orion would start arriving for the troops in 2019.

Orion air reconnaissance drone
The Orion is Russia’s first air reconnaissance UAV with a long-duration flight capability, which corresponds to the MALE (medium-altitude long-endurance) international classification category. The system is designed to conduct air reconnaissance and patrols, determine the coordinates of ground and naval targets and carry out topographic mapping of the terrain.

The Orion drone, which is being developed by Kronshtadt Group, has a maximum takeoff weight of 1 tonne and a maximum payload weight of 200 kg. The Orion is the first MALE-class drone fully developed in Russia and made of domestic components. Its flight duration is 24 hours.