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Ukraine manufacturers of unmanned aerial vehicles
At the current moment the steady tendency of development of unmanned aerial vehicles (hereinafter – the UAV) all over the world is observed. Interest to UAV has considerably increased recently. More and more the role and frequency of use of unmanned aerial vehicles increases, which is caused by their low expenses for training of pilots and operation of aircraft equipment.
Under forecasts of the European space and defensive concern (EADS Defence and Security), the next 4-5 years the world market of unmanned aerial vehicles will reach 16 billion US dollars. This figure includes cost of all UAV, the ground control facilities and equipment to them, which will be manufactured till 2015.
The number of orders for unmanned aerial vehicles grows at the present time with enormous rates. The USA expands promptly its park of UAV. The European states increase also the quantity of their UAV, however their financial resources concerning this issue are significantly limited. Countries of the Asian region pay considerable attention to unmanned aerial vehicles to solve a range of problems in different spheres.
At the present time the research&development organizations and the enterprises of the space industry of a number of states develop and manufacture more than 250 models of unmanned aerial vehicles. UAVs are widely used for detection of searched objects, their fragments or secondary traces at search and rescue works, statusing of objects of the increased danger, prompt definition of presence and coordinates of fires, specification of a surface condition (flooding, relief distortions and so on) in the area of right-of-way being projected, constructed and maintained, for detection, definition of coordinates and form of hydrological fronts, meanders, vortexes, for definition of coordinates and class of surface objects at patrolling of water area, for detection of pollution on a sea surface and possible identification of the originator of pollution, the regular review of the big traffic centre (like railway and automobile highways as well as channels of type Suez) for the purpose of management of "transport streams". A perspective direction of UAVs use is struggle against a piracy.
Israel one of the first entered the world market of UAVs, therefore it is considered as a standard of quality and, so-called, reliability. It is necessary to note, that year by year trust level to the Israeli UAVs falls more and more low. It is appropriate to mention that the technical problem of the Israeli party which has led to biennial delay in delivery of UAVs to Turkey was resolved only in the end of 2009. And such situation is not a new one for Israel. The Israeli enterprises have a problem - absence of development. There are huge capital investments, but there is no "upgrade" so attracting world society. If there is no development, improvement as the result there will be no demand. It is a market axiom.
At the same time the necessary industrial and technological base is created in Ukraine. It shall be noted that a number of organizations and structures having the richest experience of working out, manufacturing and test of UAVs operates in Ukraine. In the days of the USSR in Ukraine the industry of "creation of UAVs" being of the same level as the world analogues, actively developed.
According to the edition Defense Express, Kharkov became the Center of creation of pilotless flying machines in Ukraine and CIS countries.
Scientific Research Institute of Problems of Physical Modeling of Aircraft Flight
The Scientific Research Institute of Problems of Physical Modeling of Aircraft Flight (SRIPPM), operating based on the Zhukovskiy National Aerospace University, creates free-flying dynamic aircraft-like models.
In recent years SRIPPM specialists created a whole series of multi-purpose UAV complexes, including devices capable to carry out tasks both in autonomous regime along a preprogrammed route and long range controlled flying devices (LRCFD). Work on creating the Berkut intelligence unmanned aerial complex (UAC) can be considered one of the institute's most promising projects. With a maximum flying weight of 250 kg, the unmanned aerial vehicle “Berkut-1” can carry a 60 kg of effective load, gathering a maximum speed of 210 km/h. Its operating ceiling shall achieve 5 000 m with a flight action range of 200 km and more. The Berkut UAC was developed to solve a wide range of both military and civilian tasks connected with 24-hour all-weather aerial observation.
The most famous unmanned vehicle, designed by SRIPPM, is undoubtedly the KhAI-112, which prototype appeared at the end of the 80s. This UAV is a part of the Sapsan multi-purpose unmanned aerial complex, designed for 24-hour aerial observation in real time. The KhAI-112 complex is capable to carry out the wide range of tasks, as follows: border patrols, coastline security and monitoring of territorial waters; carry out of search and rescue operations; monitoring of the state of oil and gas pipelines and electricity supply lines; aerial intelligence and electronic warfare to the benefit of the armed forces, etc.
The control system of the KhAI-112 uses a satellite system navigation receiver. Automatic control of the UAV flight is carried out by programming up to 150 points of the route that can be changed during its flight. At any point the operator can switch to long-range flight control. With a take-off mass of 60 kg, its flight action range makes 120 km with a payload of 15 kg, a operating ceiling of 4,000 m and a maximum flight speed of 180 km/h.
The KhAI-112 glider was designed according to the diagram of high gliding with a propeller drive. It was manufactured from composite materials, and has low visual acoustic, thermal and radar visibility. It is equipped with a 12 hp two-stroke two-cylinder piston engine.
The Sapsan complex also includes the Poisk-2 UAV, optimized for flight in turbulent layer of the earth's atmosphere. The aerodynamic design of this device has enhanced dynamic stability, while its remaining technical characteristics coincide with the KhAI-112.
The SRIPPM has also developed the Bekas light UAV weighing 20 kg with a flight action range of 60 km, the Aist mini-UAV weighing only 2 kg and the Fazan UAV, which is part of the eponymous target complex designed for combat training of crews of short-range anti-aircraft rocket complexes.
Vzlet design bureau's developments
Another unmanned aerial craft designer enterprise having prospects, located in Kharkov, is the Vzlet design bureau, a structural sub-department of the Scientific-Industrial Systems Company. Specialists of mentioned institution have created the Remez-3 portable aerial observation complex, designed to carry out televisual observation of terrain in real time. All elements of the complex are packed into three containers weighing less than 15 kg each for transportation purposes. The dimensions of the containers are 1 x 0.4 x 0.4 m. The small dimensions of the device are provided by original assemblage. Remez-3 is designed according to the "Utka [duck]" diagram with short fuselage of an elliptical shape body of rotation and an air propeller established in a ring. Such aerodynamic schemes and the power source based on a 2.5 hp D-23 piston engine provide the device with a wide speed range of 58 to 105 km/h. The length of this device makes 0.78 m, its wingspan - 2 m and its weight only 10 kg. It can carry a payload of 3 kg with a flight operation range of 5 km and a maximum flying time of one hour. Take-off of this UAV can be carried out both from an aircraft and by force of a mechanical catapult of original design, landing being made by parachute.
The next development of the Vzlet design bureau is Albatross-4, a mobile aerial observation complex. A classic aerodynamic scheme of a free-flying monoplane with a propeller is chosen for Albatross-4K. The large-length wing ensures high aerodynamic quality and sufficient characteristics of stability to the aircraft both in condition of operating and stalled engine. The Albatross-4K can be launched either from an aircraft or by catapult and landing is by parachute with compulsory ejection of the cupola. The flight is carried out at the command of the operator, with the current location and parameters of the device's trajectory being determined by a GPS-35 receiver of the NAVSTAR satellite navigation system and transmitted to a PC monitor that is part of the ground control complex. The video camera for observation of the locality is fitted on a swinging platform capable of deviating on two planes at the operator's command. This makes it possible to examine objects not directly during the flight trajectory without changing course and to follow the chosen target within the limits of visibility. Use of the experimental series of the Albatross-4K confirms the device's high reparability and the possibility of installing new equipment on it. On the whole, this UAV is capable to carry out the entire range of tasks characteristic of unmanned vehicles of the operational tactical class.
The Vzlet design bureau recently developed Ukraine's first unmanned vehicle with a jet engine. The A-11 Strizh [Swift] UAV was created as a low-speed target for developing combat shooting by Ukrainian air defence troops, although it can also be used to carry out televisual observation of the locality. Taking into account the reference flight speed, the A-11 Strizh shall reach 360 km/h speed. Such speed characteristics shall be achieved, being extremely significant for light UAVs (the in-flight weight of the A-11 Strizh makes 30.1 kg), by installing a pulsating air jet engine developed at the Kharkov aviation institute. The device can be equipped with passive or active means of deflecting radar signals (in the thermal range, the radiation capacity can reach 11 kW) and it is possible to install a small millimetre-range radar system. The device is launched by catapult and lands by parachute.
Kiev-based Veles company's developments
The Ukrainian Veles aviation company is engaged in the development and manufacture of unmanned vehicles in Kiev. It collaborates closely in the area of creating and world-wide marketing of Ukrainian UAVs with Ukrinmash, an affiliate enterprise of the state company Ukrspetseksport. The Veles design bureau has developed three types of UAV - Vel-100, Vel-400 and Vel-600, designed for information monitoring or economic work in complicated conditions, and also an unpiloted prototype of a small 2-7-seater vertical take-off plane (easily modernized into a UAV).
Veles has practical experience of using Vel-100 devices in agriculture: they have been used to spray ecologically clean substances in the fight against insects. At present an experimental series of eight UAVs of this type has been built. A modification of the Vel-100 with a 14 hp two-cylinder engine is capable of developing a speed of up to 380-400 km/h. Its maximum height can reach 6,000 m, allowing the device to be used as a low-speed target for working through air defence firing (including with infra-red guidance
ammunition). The take-off weight of the Vel-100 in its basic design amounts to 14 kg with a payload of 5 kg. These indicators, depending on the capacity of the engine installed, may increase to 32 and 10 kg respectively. The speed characteristics of different versions of the Vel-100 vary from 55 to 400 km/h and their flight length from two to five hours. The Vel-100 glider was created on the principle of a "flying wing". A maritime version of the Vel-100, the Velmarina-100, was designed to be sea-based on patrol boats of coastal protection, border troops and ecological patrols. Moreover, the device can take off and land on a boat in motion.
The other Veles developments - the Vel-400 and Vel-600 UAV series - use a more traditional glider design consisting of a high glider with a propeller drive located behind the wing. Devices with identical design and similar technical characteristics differ only in their dimensions. The wing span of the Vel-400 and Vel-600, depending on the weight of their payload can be from three to five metres for the former model and from five to seven metres for the latter; maximum speed - up to 180 km/h; maximum take-off weight - 75-125 kg; payload - up to 25-65 kg; operating ceiling height - 4,000 m; length of flight - five to nine hours. There is a modification of the Vel-400 with an increased flight length of up to 12 hours. The possibility of fitting special equipment on the Vel-600 allows it, apart from carrying out the usual UAV functions, to discover ultra-small radiation sources and compile a map of polluted areas. The Vel-600 can also be equipped with three on-board video terminals.
Vel UAVs of the 100, 400 and 600 series were designed for patrolling borders, coastal protection and monitoring territorial waters; carrying out search and rescue operations; monitoring the state of oil and gas pipelines and electricity transmission lines; aerial intelligence and electronic warfare in the interests of the armed forces.
It is necessary to note, that many newest products and developmental models of Ukrainian "UAVs" under their characteristics, quality and price, much better than their foreign analogues. According to the independent American experts in the field of working out of the flying machines, who have visited the Ukrainian enterprises for working out of UAVs, level of aerodynamic cleanness of Ukrainian UAVs such as "the Project 21", "Sova", "Strepet", "MRS" "Р-100" and others is much better than that of the Israeli UAVs. Thus possibilities of Israeli UAVs are frequently limited, and their prices are considerably overestimated.
Problems and prospects of development of the military industrial complex of Ukraine as a whole, and of one of its major components – working out and manufacture of UAVs – in particular, are discussed with a new intensity. A new 2011 in Ukraine has begun with an audit and a wide reorganization of the whole military industrial complex of the country. In December the President of Ukraine Victor Janukovich has signed decrees “On measures for increase of efficiency of activity of the aviation industry of Ukraine”, and also on creation of state concern "Ukroboronprom", which structure will be definitively approved by spring of the current year. In the near future it is necessary to resolve a number of the important problems, including allocation of frequencies for use of channels for transfer of video data and operating of "UAVs", creation of the system for training of corresponding experts as well as the system for service, logistics and repair of UAVs.
Domestic developers and foreign experts in space field unanimously agree that for today Ukraine has the high-quality product of UAVs which according to the quality and reliability is much better than the world analogues. This fact allows us with optimism to face the future in which Ukraine undoubtedly will occupy the leading positions among leading manufacturers of UAVs.