Russia's Armed Forces will receive three new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in the next 3 years to boost the reconnaissance and precision-strike capabilities of ground units, an industry official said on Tuesday.
The new-generation Tipchak mobile aerial system has been designed for reconnaissance and target designation purposes on the battlefield in any weather conditions. The first Tipchak system was put in service at the end of 2008.
"We will deliver one Tipchak UAV system to the Defense Ministry every year until 2011," said Arkady Syroyezhko, director of UAV development programs at the Vega Radio Engineering Corp.
Tipchak operates up to six UAVs launched from a pneumatic catapult. Each UAV has a range of 40 kilometers (25 miles) and can provide targeting for artillery and theater-based ballistic missiles at distances up to 350 km (about 220 miles).
The drone is fitted with infrared and video sensors and has a real-time digital data link for communication with artillery units for laser-guided targeting.
The Russian Air Force has launched a number of UAV development programs for various purposes.
Air Force Commander, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin said last year that Russia would deploy advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) with a flight range of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles) and flight duration of up to 12 hours by 2011.
The UAVs of both fixed- and rotary-wing types will perform a variety of tasks, including reconnaissance, attack, retransmission of radio signals and target designation, the general said.
A source in the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation said on Tuesday that the Defense Ministry was also considering buying UAVs abroad, but the decision has been delayed by lobbyists from the Russian defense industry.
"The purchase of several UAV's from Israel worth $100 million is still being discussed," the source said.