Warplanes: July 10, 2005


Russia has a new UAV, the Pchela 1. This is a 304 pound aircraft, that is launched with two small rockets from a truck. The UAV lands via a parachute. Only 9.1 feet long, with a 10.7 foot wingspan, the aircraft has a cruising speed of 120 kilometers an hour, and a max range from the ground controller of 60 kilometers. It can be equipped with either a daylight, or night (infrared) camera. A major shortcoming of the Pchela 1 is its endurance, only two hours. If this sounds like old technology, it is. The Russians began developing the Pchela series in the 1990s, and the Pchela 1 was tested five years ago. But lack of money prevented the army from buying any of them. Older model UAVs were used successfully in Chechnya as far back as 1995. The Pchela 1 is not likely to be exported, but rather as the basis for further research, and the development of more modern, and effective UAVs. 


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