Warplanes: Russian UAVs Lack Persistence


October13, 2006: Russia continues to develop new models of its Pchela-1T UAV. By Western standards, it's a pretty limited system. The UAV weighs 304 pounds, carries day and night cameras, but can only stay in the air for two hours at a time. The Pchela takes off with the aid of two rockets, and lands via parachute. It's cruising speed is 120 kilometers an hour, and it can operate up to sixty kilometers from the operator. Russia sells the Pchela-1T as a system (two trucks, control and launch gear, and ten UAVs) for about $5.5 million. The system has been used successfully in Chechnya, but its short endurance takes away the one major advantage of UAVs; persistence. With only two hours endurance, and a complicated take off and landing procedure, you're not getting much for your money when you buy Pchela, which may be why Russia is the only user. Russia has tried to find foreign buyers, but has had no luck because of the Western competition.


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