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The first image of a new Russian reconnaissance drone was apparently captured by a satellite. The picture was taken at the Gromov Flight Research Institute in the Moscow region, according to RIA Novosti.
Denis Fedutinov, an expert on UAV’s told sputniknews.com that the drone on the image is supposedly the new Russian Orion drone.
“This is the most probable option based on the size and the configuration of the aircraft, as well as due to reports that the test-flights of this unmanned aerial vehicle started this time in this Flight Research Institute,” Fedutinov claimed.
The Orion is being developed for the Russian Aerial Forces, the Navy and the Special Forces. Moreover, it has a civilian modification. Its military characteristics are classified, however, some basic civilian data was shared by the developers of the drone.
According to Fedutinov, the appearance of the UAV in the satellite image differs from that which was shown at exhibitions. In 2013-2015, the company revealed a layout of the Orion, which had a high-wing placement and the tail in the form of an inverted V. Meanwhile, the UAV on the satellite image looks more like the US Reaper drone with a V-shaped tail, a longer wing and with an engine on the tail-end.
Last May, RIA Novosti reported that the test-flights of the drone began. The Russian Defense Ministry signed a contract for the development of the drone with Russian company, Kronshtadt .
The Orion UAV is classified as a medium-long duration aerial vehicle. It is assumed that the maximum duration of its flight is no less than 24 hours, while it can fly at a maximum altitude of about 8,000 meters. The UAV’s takeoff weight increased to 1,200 kg, while its payload weight is 300 kg.