Russia will test-fire an anti-tank missile from the Orion combat unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in the fall, state-backed news outlet RIA Novosti revealed, citing a source.
The outlet added that the UAV — developed by Kronstadt Group — will fire Vikhr anti-tank guided missiles as part of its ongoing weapon system tests.
Vikhr Anti-Tank Missile
The Vikhr is a laser-guided anti-tank missile that can be launched from various platforms, including warships, combat helicopters, and aircraft.
Russia’s Kalashnikov Group is reported to be adapting the missile for use on the “Orion-E attack drone besides other platforms.”
The missile was also on display with the Orion at the recently concluded MAKS-2021 arms show near Moscow.
Missile to Increase Orion Lethality
“Currently, work is underway to integrate modernized anti-tank missiles of the Vikhr-M complex on Orion. In autumn, the first drone firing of Vortexes from a drone will be conducted at the military training ground at ground targets imitating enemy armored vehicles,” RIA Novosti quoted the source as saying.
The source claimed that the weapon increases the potency of the aircraft against even the “most modern and protected tanks,” adding that it has an 80 percent success rate in hitting moving targets.
The outlet further states that the UAV will carry two missiles in containers suspended on the underwing pylons.
According to Kalashnikov, the supersonic missile has an effective range of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), and its warhead can “penetrate up to 750 millimeters of homogeneous armor behind ERA (explosive reactive armor).”
The Orion in Syria
The Orion, meanwhile, is a medium-altitude long-duration UAV. The aircraft was deployed earlier this year for reconnaissance and anti-terrorist strikes in Syria to test.
During the tests, the Orion-E was equipped with a “modernized wearable complex of intelligence, command and communications Strelets-M,” striking targets with a “high rate of efficiency and accuracy” in real-time.
The aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of 1,150 kg (2,535 lb) and can carry a payload of up to 200 kg (440 lb).
The Orion-E can fly at a maximum speed of 200 kilometers (124 miles) per hour and a maximum altitude of seven kilometers (four miles).
Orion-E’s weapons include unguided and corrected aerial bombs, as well as various guided missiles.