24 Aug 2019 18:18

Serial delivery of Forpost-R reconnaissance drone to begin in 2020

MOSCOW. Aug 24 (Interfax) - Deliveries of an upgraded Forpost reconnaissance drone will begin from 2020, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

"Testing of the new unmanned system, Forpost-R, is nearly complete. Its serial delivery to the army, under a contract signed between the Russian Defense Ministry and the Urals Civil Aviation Plant, will begin from 2020," the ministry said on Friday.

This is "an entirely renewed modification of the well-proven Forpost system, only the external outlines remained the same.

"The system has received new capabilities thanks to the latest Russian developments, enabling it to conduct reconnaissance round the clock using radio and radar tools as well as optical ones. These are unique capabilities for this class of UAV," the ministry said.

A new radio line enabled a 100-meter extension of the operating range, and has increased protection from foreign hardware influence.

"The aerial vehicle was constructed out of domestically-produced material and fitted with modern radio-electronic equipment, communication lines, a ground control system, and software, all Russian made. Forpost-R also has a domestically-produced engine, the APD-85," the ministry said.

The Forpost drone is a licensed replica of the Israeli Searcher MkII, assembled at the Urals Civil Aviation Plant since 2010. By 2018 the Russian army had about 30 Forpost systems assembled from imported parts. The first fully Russian-made Forpost-M, upgraded based on the experience of military action in Syria, were to be delivered for the Russian Defense Ministry in 2019.

The Forpost system consists of three aircraft and a ground control station. Each aircraft weighs 500 kilograms, has a payload of 100 kilograms, and a 99 kilograms fuel load. The drone can accelerate up to 200 kilometers per hour and conduct reconnaissance at an altitude of five kilometers for 16 hours within an up to 400-kilometer range.