Russian Air Force Begins Testing MALE Strike Drones

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Orion E MALE UAV was displayed in a full scale model by the developed by the Russian Kronstadt Group. Orion-E is the first MALE drone produced in Russia, that is capable of carrying weapons.

The Russian Air Force has begun testing the medium-altitude long-range drone Orion Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) strike-reconnaissance drones, Tass news reported.

the user testing follows the manufacturer test phase and state trials culminated with weapons tests with several drones deployed to Syria. Following those tests, the Ministry of Defense is expected to make the final procurement decision. In the strike-reconnaissance configuration, Orion-E can carry four missiles. The Orion was developed by the Kronstadt group.

The Russian Air Force plans to deploy MALE drones in a mixed formation of manned and unmanned reconnaissance and attack platforms. These are expected to use MALE drones such as long loitering but slow Orion, and fast, long-range strike aircraft such as the S-34.