Russian Drones Are a Jerry-Rigged Mess

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One of many revelations from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is that a few of its army {hardware} appears to be lower than leading edge. The most recent instance of Russia working with jerry-rigged tools comes from a video launched by the Ukrainian Ministry of Protection. Within the video a Ukrainian soldier examines a Russian Orlan-10 UAV that had crashed. The soldier patiently discusses what every half is and his ideas about them. Although the drones are reported to price between $87,000 and $120,000 per unit, the innards appear like they price about $500 complete. Possibly $1,000 if you happen to embrace the same old degree of bill padding concerned with army contracts.

Within the video flagged by Petapixel, essentially the most shocking reveal is the drone’s optical mechanism. As an alternative of it being some form of military-grade, prime secret, high-resolution optical system it’s a midrange Canon DSLR. Even stranger; it’s secured to a board with velcro. The digicam is a Canon Eos T6i, which is a 24MP midrange mannequin launched in 2015. It’s a bit outdated by at the moment’s requirements, and you should purchase one used on-line with an 18-55mm equipment lens for round $500. Within the video we see the knob that’s used to vary the capturing mode is glued in-place, and it’s curiously set to shutter precedence (Television). The digicam additionally appears to be utilizing a 50mm prime lens as a substitute of a far-reaching zoom, however that’s simply our guess from eyeballing it. It seems to be to us like a 50mm f/1.8, which prices $125 on Amazon. For one thing made for surveillance from a distance this isn’t a super setup.

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Because the soldier continues his examination, the following factor he factors out is what seems to be the gas tank. Since each the cap and the half it screws onto are plastic, he theorizes that it’s in all probability a plastic water bottle. The cap is secured to the chassis with a wire, finishing the “made in a storage” aesthetic. The soldier additionally notes the usage of duct tape adjoining to the gas tank.

Bear in mind this low-tech drone is meant to price within the ballpark of $100K USD. A Ukrainian information company reported beforehand on the seize of 1 in 2017, and wrote about their capabilities. The outline supplied beforehand doesn’t match the “hobbyist” look this drone has. They’re usually flown in packs of three. One offers surveillance, one does “digital warfare,” and the third sends information again to HQ. The surveillance drone within the group reportedly flies on the lowest altitude. It flies at a peak of 1 kilometer (3,280 ft) with the opposite drones above it, which simply makes this drone’s antiquated elements all of the more strange.

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