Russian Firm Unveils Upgraded ‘Orion’ MALE Attack-Reconnaissance Drone

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Privately held Russian firm, Kronshtadt Group unveiled a modernized version of Orion medium-altitude long endurance (MALE) drone that can loiter for long hours and attack its target from over 30km away, during the ongoing Army-2020 Expo in Moscow.

The drone was upgraded taking into account the experience of its usage by the Ministry of Defense, the company said in a release. The Orion’s load capacity has been increased. It has now entered the category of “reconnaisance-attack drones.”

At the event, the company demonstrated a range of high-precision weapons in the weight of 50 kg and more designed by Kronstadt and other Russian developers. One of the munitions displayed along with the drone is a 50-kg guided UPAB-50S missile intended for destroying personnel and equipment at up to 30 km ranges.

The warhead types could be of HE fragmentation, cluster, fuel-air explosive types. New weapon guidance system has been installed and tested on the Orion, says Kronshtadt.Russia has already built an export variant of the Orion for reconnaissance designated as Orion-E. It is a long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle intended for day-and-night aerial ISR missions in a wide range of climate zones, says the official promotional paper of Kronstadt. The maximum payload is 200kg, cruise speed is 120kmph, flight ceiling – 7500 m, maximum payload is 200 kg, the endurance – 24 hrs. Orion-E is capable of performing aerial intelligence, reconnaisance and surveillance; target detection and tracking; aerial mapping; strike damage assessment; radar survey; SIGINT/COMINT. The EO/IR system implements ground targets search and detection in infrared and visible spectrum.