Russia’s first combat unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) – Orion, is scheduled to launch anti-tank guided missiles for the first time in the coming fall as part of the ongoing weapons testing, a military source told Sputnik.
“Currently, work is underway to integrate modernized anti-tank missiles of the Vikhr-M complex into Orion. The first launches of the Vikhr missiles from the UAV against targets imitating enemy armored vehicles are scheduled for this fall at the military training grounds,” he said.
The source noted that “adding the Vikhr ATGM [anti-tank guided missile] to Orion will significantly increase its capabilities in destroying heavily armored vehicles on the battlefield, including the latest and most heavily protected tanks.”
The Vikhr ATGM has very high efficiency against moving targets of the “tank” type, with over 80% of successful hits, he added.
One Orion UAV will be able to carry two Vikhr missiles, which will be suspended from the vehicle in containers on the underwing pylons, the source said.
Kalashnikov, Russia’s largest producer of precision weapons, sold the first Vikhr-1s to the country’s Defense Ministry in 2015. The company has been considering integrating the missile with Russia’s first combat drone for some time now.
The Orion combat drone, which is capable of carrying up to 200 kilograms (441 pounds) of combat load, is developed and manufactured by the Kronshtadt Group company. The Russian military actively used these UAVs for reconnaissance and airstrikes against terrorists in Syria as part of flight tests of the unmanned complex.
In early July, Kronshtadt Group announced it was preparing to launch mass production of Orion UAVs for exports at a one-of-a-kind plant in the town of Dubna in 2022.