United Instrument Corporation (UIC), a branch of the Russian state-owned Rostec corporation is designing an amphibian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that uses an air cushion developed by the Moscow Radio Engineering Research Institute, enabling the drone to operate from rough surfaces. The drone called ‘Chirok’ (Teal) will be able to operate from uneven surfaces, scattered with stones and obstacles (20cm high), as well as soft sand, grass, snow-covered or wetland terrain, as well as water surfaces.
The Chirok will carry payloads up to 300 kg, including guided weapons, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) payloads or other useful cargo. The drone will have a wingspan of 10 meters, with podded engines mounted overwing. The air cushion skirt is applied at the bottom of the vehicle, generating the lift for takeoff and soft touchdown on landing. The Chirok weighs 750 kg. Flying at a ceiling of up to 18,000 ft Chirok will have a range of 2,500 km. According to its designers the drone can be built with thermal and radar absorbing skin and internal weapons carriage, to reduce its signature.
The company plans to embark on a construction of a prototype following the flight testing of Chirok slated for this summer. Chirok will be displayed at the MAKS, Russian Aviasalon in August. A larger version weighing two tons is currently at the concept phase.