This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

Russia’s T-14 Armata tanks will be equipped with reconnaissance drones to ensure circumferencial scanning of the terrain for the crew. According to, the drone, designed by the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI), will be able to stay in the air for a very long period of time, and it will receive power via a flexible cable directly from the tank.

The drone was called “Pterodactyl.” The new lightweight UAV is made of composite materials to ensure its durability and lightness. It will be able to fly around the tank in a radius of 50-100 meters and be equipped with a portable radar and a thermal night vision device. The cable system has already passed tests at the laboratory of the Institute and fully confirmed all specified characteristics.

The new UAV is designed as a tiltrotor – the aircraft’s propellers rotate together with wings – thus the aircraft combines the functions of both an airplane and a helicopter.

As often happens, the above-described technical solution was invented a long time ago – in the late 1960s. The technology was designed for the German prototype of unmanned helicopter Dornier Do-32K. The helicopter used the cable system to receive both fuel and commands on it. The cable power system is currently used at Israel’s Hovermast copter, although it does not work in tandem with a combat vehicle, according to

The creators of the “Pterodactyl” believe that the combination of the UAV with the tank will be used for advanced military hardware, in which the weapons range is smaller than that of on-board detection equipment. For example, Armata’s gun can strike targets at a distance of up to eight kilometers, but the distance required to detect enemy’s tank through the sight aperture is only five kilometers. The new technology will enable the tank to attack out-of-sight enemy objects.

Armata tanks outfitted with drones will be able to scan up to10 kilometers of surrounding terrain.  The peculiarity will give Armata an indisputable superiority over other existing models of armored vehicles that have no such drones.