WATCH: Russian drone takes out aerial target for first time
The Russian Ministry of Defense has released a video of the "Orion," a state-of-the-art combat drone developed by Russia's Kronshtadt Group, destroying an aerial target at a testing range in Crimea.
The footage, which was released by military chiefs on Sunday, shows the Orion lifting off and circling in the air before firing a missile that strikes an unmanned helicopter, destroying it completely. In the description of the video, the ministry wrote, "the first military application of the newest armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the Orion, in the Crimean test site."
The description continues, "the UAV 'Orion' will significantly expand the military capabilities of the Russian Armed Forces. It allows not only for dozens of hours of aerial reconnaissance at a great distance from the airfield base, but also for swift strikes at exposed targets."
Orion was developed by the Kronshtadt Group, part of a large conglomerate headed by Russian billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov. This weekend, the company published new photos of the vehicle on its Instagram page, along with an announcement of the construction of two new drone hangars near Ryazan, in western Russia.
Dmitry Litovkin, editor of Russia's "Independent Military Review," told TASS that Orion is capable of surveilling vast regions, such as the entire Northern Sea Route, spanning the Arctic, and that authorities in Moscow believe it will break the monopoly that China, Israel, and the US currently have on drone technology.
Last week, Russia unveiled a new version of its "Hunter" combat drone, equipped with advanced stealth capabilities including a specialized flat rocket nozzle, which allows for reduced radar detection. Alexey Krivoruchko, the Defense Ministry official who oversaw the rollout, said the Hunter represents "the highest achievements of our defense industry's enterprises and organizations."