Warplanes: Russia Does UAVs Differently


June 24, 2007: Russia has developed the Tipchak UAV for use by artillery units. The Tipchak weighs 132 pounds, has a payload of 32 pounds and can stay in the air for two hours per sortie. The Tipchak can operate as high as 10,000 feet. The day/night cameras enable the operator to spot targets up to 40 kilometers away, and provide coordinates for guns or rocket units. A Tipchak unit contains six UAVs, a truck with the launcher and another with the flight control equipment. An artillery brigade would have a Tipchak unit attached. Western armies use a different approach to finding targets for artillery, relying on observers and UAVs belonging to infantry and armor units, rather than the artillery units themselves having their own aerial spotters. However, back in World War II, Western armed forces used a system similar to the one the Russians are still using. The Tipchak probably won't get many export sales, even if sold at a very low price, because of the short duration of each sortie for a UAV of that size. If the Tipchak has an endurance of six hours or more, its sales prospects would increase considerably.


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