Russian Paras Test Lightweight UAV

MOSCOW, December 5 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s airborne forces (VDV) have started state acceptance trials of the new Iskatel (Searcher) lightweight unmanned aerial vehicle system, the system’s makers said on Wednesday.

“The VDV’s 106th division has started testing the portable Iskatel UAV system made by the Popov Omsk Radio Factory,” said Popov’s Alexei Topekhin. “The tests will include trial flights and carriage tests to see if it is best carried in one rucksack or two, and trials of a para-drop container for its components,” he added.

The Iskatel system with its T-4 UAV is Russia’s only short-range man-portable UAV system, he said.

“Iskatel will be developed in one of two variants,” he said. “Either it will be made smaller so it can be carried by just one man, or it will be made as a longer-endurance variant carried by two paratroopers,” he said.

Even with the second, longer-range T-4, Iskatel will be no heavier than 22 lbs (10 kg) he noted. The operator’s guidance antenna will be carried in his rucksack, and not ground-mounted, he said.

The Isatel system consists of a backpack-carried base station, tablet computer for controlling the UAV and downloading imagery from it, and two 1.3 kg T-4 UAVs which have an endurance of 40 minutes.

The system gives optimal imagery from an altitude of 660 feet (200 meters) but can reach 13,200 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level if needed in mountainous terrain.

The 24-inch (60 cm) wingspan T-4 is electrically-powered. The system, with two T-4 UAVs, has a provisional price of around 3 million rubles ($97,000).