21:23 GMT04 December 2020
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    The first image of a new Russian reconnaissance drone was apparently captured by a satellite, RIA Novosti reported.

    The image of the drone was spotted earlier this week on the Terraserver website specializing in aerial and satellite imagery.

    The picture was taken at the Gromov Flight Research Institute's taxi lane in the Moscow region. The organization is an important Russian aircraft test base and scientific research center in the city of Zhukovsky.

    Russian expert in unmanned aerial vehicles Denis Fedutinov told Sputnik that the drone on the image is supposedly new Russian Orion drone.

    "This is the most probable option based on the size and the configuration of the aircraft, as well as due to reports that the test-flights of this unmanned aerial vehicle started this time in this Flight Research Institute," Fedutinov claimed.

    The Orion is being developed for the Russian Aerial Forces, the Navy and the Special Forces. Moreover, it has a civilian modification. It's military characteristrics are classified, however, some basic civilian data was shared by the developers of the drone.

    According to Fedutinov, the appearance of the UAV in the satellite image differs from that which was shown at exhibitions, including the MAKS international airshow.

    In 2013-2015, the company revealed a layout of the Orion, which had a two-boon aircraft design with a high-wing placement and the tail in the form of an inverted V. Meanwhile, the UAV on the satellite image looks more like the US Reaper drone with a V-shaped tail, a longer wing and with an engine on the tail-end.

    In May 2016, RIA Novosti reported citing sources that the test-flights of the drone began. The Russian Defense Ministry signed a contract for the development of the drone with the Russian Kronshtadt company.

    The Orion UAV is classified as a medium-long duration aerial vehicle. It is assumed that the maximum duration of its flight is not less than 24 hours, while it can fly at a maximum altitude of about 8,000 meters.

    According to the project of the drone, Orion's weight should be about 1 ton. In 2015, the former president of Transas Group Nikolai Lebedev revealed data on the drone's characteristics at the MAKS 2015 airshow. The UAV's takeoff weight increased to 1,200 kg, while its payload weight is 300 kg.


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