September 13, 2008:Russia has
ordered over 30 Tipchak UAV [PHOTO]s, with the first ones being delivered by the end of
the year. Russia originally developed the Tipchak 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 accurate location information for guns or rocket. A Tipchak
unit contains six UAVs, a truck with the launcher and another with the flight
control equipment. Each artillery brigade (with three or four gun or rocket
battalions) 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. With that in
mind, Russia is developing a larger version of the Tipchak, with longer
endurance and the ability to launch missiles (similar to the 106 pound U.S.