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Russian Forpost autonomous drones fire a naval aviation for the first time

MOSCOW, (BM) – Drones “Forpost” teach to hunt ships and submarines. They will be able not only to detect enemy targets at sea, but also transmit their coordinates of combat aircraft in real time.

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The new system was recently tested during the Black Sea Fleet maneuvers, learned BulgarianMilitary.com. The use of drones for reconnaissance of sea targets is especially effective when long patrols are required, experts say.

A clue from the sky

Forpost naval drones are taught to work in conjunction with aircraft to destroy sea targets, sources in the Ministry of Defense told Izvestia. During the July surprise check of the Southern and Western military districts, drones discovered and identified a simulated enemy ship group in the Black Sea. Then they pointed naval aviation at her. Su-24M bombers and Su-30SM multipurpose fighters inflicted an aimed bomb attack on the enemy.

These UAVs will also help anti-submarine aircraft. Even if the submarine discovered by them manages to hide under water, aviation will be able to drop homing torpedoes at the exact coordinates transmitted from the drone.

In April, the military department reported on the development of the interaction of the “Outposts” with submarines. During the exercise, drones of the Black Sea Fleet found ships and transmitted their coordinates to the Kolpino diesel submarine. She struck at them a conditional missile strike with “Caliber”.

In May, the “Outpost” of the Baltic Fleet in the Kaliningrad region was practicing target detection and adjusting the firing of naval artillery. According to the Ministry of Defense, from a height of several kilometers, through digital communication channels, in real time, it gave information about the target and shell explosions. This allowed the artillerymen of the Soobrazitelny corvette to accurately and quickly make corrections when firing.

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“This is a very effective system,” Lieutenant General Valery Gorbenko, former commander of the 4th Air Force and Air Defense Army, told Izvestia.

“It is difficult to shoot down a reconnaissance drone. And modern equipment allows him to give the exact coordinates of targets to aircraft that are already in the air. They can be on duty in the air, and the time from detection to strike is significantly reduced. Previously, in order to search for naval targets, it was necessary to send a reconnaissance aircraft and risk the crew. And modern UAVs can be in flight for a much longer time. So the new use of drones is a big step forward” also he said.

New era

Earlier, the head of the naval aviation of the Russian Navy, Major General Igor Kozhin, said that drones have become a new era in its development. Drones are used for reconnaissance, surveillance, control, and cargo delivery.

The formation of the first units of unmanned aircraft in the Russian Navy began in 2013. The first detachments were created in Severomorsk and Kamchatka. In 2014-2015, UAV units were reorganized into squadrons. Then they were included in the naval aviation bases. At the same time, their drones appeared in the Black Sea and Baltic fleets.

At the end of 2016, an experimental and so far the only regiment of unmanned aviation with the Forpost and Orlan-10 UAVs was created in the Northern Fleet. There is no other such large military unit fully equipped with drones, even as part of the Aerospace Forces and the Ground Forces.

In Syria, naval outposts were intensively used to detect targets and control the result of naval aviation strikes against terrorists, as well as to monitor hits from ship-based cruise missiles.

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Work is also underway to equip combat ships of the Russian fleet with drones. Project 22160 watchdogs can already carry several small helicopter-type UAVs. Last year, the Project 11356 frigate “Admiral Essen” performed a catapult launch of the light Orlan-10 with its subsequent landing in a special fishing net on the deck. It was reported that other modern ships, including the “Guarding” type corvettes, could be equipped with the same system.

Earlier it was reported about plans to supply larger long-range drones for naval aviation. Candidates for this role could be the monochromatic Orion and the larger twin-engine Altius in development.

Compared to Outposts, they have increased patrol duration and payload. In addition, satellite control allows them to move away from their shores to a much greater distance, which will allow them to monitor vast expanses of the ocean.

Air-sea “Outpost”

The Forpost medium-range UAV is the largest of the serial drones in service with Russia. The Aerospace Forces and the Navy have several dozen vehicles of this model. Their production has been launched at the Ural Civil Aviation Plant since 2014.

Most of the “Outposts” are naval aviation. The rest are used in videoconferencing. Such drones are actively used to detect land targets and adjust the fire of artillery and missile forces, aviation, humanitarian and observation missions.

The drone is based on the Israeli IAI Searcher II, the assembly license for which was acquired by Russia in 2010. Weighing 450 kg, the device can stay in the air for up to 18 hours. It is equipped with powerful optical reconnaissance equipment, relay and radio detection equipment.

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In 2019, the press service of the Ministry of Defense announced that its new version, “Forpost-R”, is at the final stage of development. It will be created entirely from Russian-made components. Upgrading will give it improved performance. This will primarily affect onboard equipment. Powerful optics will be supplemented by airborne radars to detect land and sea targets in any weather and at a great distance.

In December 2019, the Ministry of Defense signed a contract for the purchase of ten modernized Forpost-R vehicles. Plans have been announced to order 18 more kits this year.

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