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MAKS 2017: Kronstadt Group launches Orion-E MALE UAV

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MAKS 2017
International Aviation and Space Show
18 - 23 July 2017, Zhukovsky, Russia
 
 
MAKS 2017: Kronstadt Group launches Orion-E MALE UAV
 
The Kronstadt Group designed the latest multifunctional Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Orion-E of Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) class for air reconnaissance. The presentation of the drone was held at the MAKS 2017 airshow in Zhukovsky near Moscow.
     
Kronstadt Group's Orion-E scale model at MAKS 2017
     
Kronstadt Group Deputy Director General Nikolai Dolzhenkov said Orion-E was developed by "through circuit" from design to test production. "Technologies were designed which did not exist before," he said.

Kronstadt Group Director General Armen Isaakyan said all declared drone characteristics had been confirmed. The company produced mission control software to engage the payload and process air reconnaissance data and mastered production technologies for composite materials.

According to official data, the Orion-E has a wing span of 16 meters, the height of 3 meters, the length of 8 meters, maximum takeoff weight of 1000 kilograms, standard payload of 60 kilograms, maximum payload of 200 kilograms, horizontal flight speed of 120-200 km/h, direct vision engagement range of 250 kilometers and the range with unmanned transponder of 300 kilometers. The Orion-E air reconnaissance complex includes from six to four drones, a ground command and data processing station, automatic takeoff and landing means and communication means. The cover of the craft and load carrying structures are made from composite materials by the vacuum infusion technology. "In contrast to the Chinese drones we used composite materials to produce not only the cover, but also load carrying structure," Isaakyan said.

Dolzhenkov said the Kronstadt Group will expand the line of drones on the basis of Orion-E solutions to produce the craft of bigger size and with a broader range of missions.

"We plan modernization up to 5-ton category. We have a program which we are agreeing with government, industrial and management bodies to create a vertical takeoff craft up to 7 tons," he said. The payload of the 5-ton craft will comprise 1-2 tons depending on the assigned missions and of the 7-ton drone - 1-1.5 tons due to specific takeoff and landing scheme. "The 7-ton craft can be deployed in any place, including Polar regions and ships," Dolzhenkov said.

The 7-ton drone was conditionally named Frigate. "It is a convertiplane with a spatial wing. The concept means the creation of heavily loaded propfan with acceptable trust ratio in vertical motion and sufficient output factor in the cruising regime. The concept allows producing UAV in the niche between aircraft and helicopters which will exceed helicopters two-fold in transportation capability. Its speed at an altitude of 7-8 thousand meters will be not less than 650 km/h. We produced a demonstration model which confirmed the feasibility of the concept at transition stages of a cruising flight. At present we cooperate with TsAGI to determine the optimal characteristics of the propfan. The scheme is much more feasible compared to other exotic schemes of some designers," Dolzhenkov said.

The Kronstadt Group believes it possible to arm the Orion-E and develop it into an Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV). "If there is an order nothing will impede arming it," Dolzhenkov said and added the company also plans to advance to the HALE class. Isaakyan said the active phase of Orion-E test flights will continue through 2017.
     
Full-scale model of the Orion-E MALE UAV (without right wing) at MAKS 2017
     
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