Russia’s Kalashnikov Group is working on adapting the 'Vikhr' air- launched guided missiles for use on the Orion-E attack drone besides other platforms.
The Vikhr missiles are often compared to the American Hellfire as both are guided with similar strike distances. The Hellfire has been adapted to be fired from drones such as the MQ-9 Reaper.
At the MAKS-2021 arms show near Moscow the missile was displayed along with the Orion-E medium-altitude long endurance (MALE) reconnaissance/strike unmanned aerial vehicle to suggest that the missile could be fired from the drone.
“At the moment the Kalashnikov specialists are considering the possibility of adapting the Vikhr for use on the latest Mi-28NE, Mi-35P helicopters, as well as on the Orion-E unmanned aerial,” Kalashnikov in a press release posted on its website.
If adapted to the Orion-E, the combination would become as dangerous as the Chinese Wing Loong II or the Turkish Bayratkar drone which fire guided missiles.
The Vikhr is capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 10 kilometers, its speed is more than 600 meters per second. Thickness of homogeneous armor behind dynamic protection penetrable by the tandem shaped charge warhead - 750 mm.
In May this year, Kalashnikov Group announced, that the Aerospace Forces of Russia it conducted successful flight trials of the Vikhr missiles with a series of missile launches performed by a Ka-52 Alligator helicopter.
The Orion-E, developed and manufactured by the Kronstadt company, is intended for performing reconnaissance and attack missions. The maximum take-off weight is 1.1 t, the maximum payload weight is 250 kg. The maximum flight duration is 30 hours, and the speed is up to 200 km/h 4 .
According to the official Rosoboronexport presentation of the Orion-E UCAV, its major advantages include the capability to conduct reconnaissance round-the-clock in optical, IR and radio bands, high-level automation of data processing and transmission, self-sustainability, fully autonomous or operator-controlled models. From one ground station up to 4 UAVs can be simultaneously controlled, says the official presentation.