The Russian Ministry of Defense had released a video of its drone, styled much like the MQ-1 Predator of the U.S. military, taking down a rotary-wing drone. According to the details shared in the video’s description, the test was conducted in Crimea, a region that Russia annexed in 2014 from Ukraine.
The unmanned aerial vehicle taking flight at the beginning of the video is the Orion drone that Russia has developed after a series of delays, The Drive reported. Russia has clearly lagged behind the U.S. and China when it comes to developing drones and associated technology. With a gross weight of around 2,250 pounds (1,020 kg) and the purported ability to fly for 24 hours, The Orion is strikingly similar to the MQ-1 Predator used by the U.S., something that Iran has also done.
In 2018, Russia had successfully tested this drone against ground targets during operations in Syria, The Drive reported and it now appears that the development team has spent the good part of the last three years perfecting the weapon system to hit air targets.
Although the video does not share any details of the weapon used to hit the target, The Drive suggests that it is the modified version of the 9M113 Kornet, an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). The Kornet is manually controlled and relies on a laser-guidance system to hit its target and the modified version used during this trial also appears to work this way.
The turret on the Orion has all the sensors such as electro-optical and infrared cameras needed to track threats on the air and uses its laser-designator to deliver the guided weapon. The remotely located pilot seems to have used these to perfection.
The target in the video is a rotary-wing drone that Russia has developed with a primary utility of serving as the bulls-eye for such exercises, The Drive reported. As of now, we do not know if it has a designation or if Russia has plans of using it in reconnaissance roles.
Nevertheless, the developments on the Orion, showcasing a rotary-wing drone and soon-to-occur first flight of the Heavy Stealth Drone, ‘Hunter’ go to show that Russia has made some headway in this area too.