Military Review

Soviet UAVs

52
Soviet UAVs

A UAV in modern warfare is both a reconnaissance aircraft, a spotter, and an attack aircraft ... These aircraft replace a whole range of battlefield combat aircraft, or rather, they do not replace, but complement. Why are they good? First of all, it is cheaper than aircraft, plus there is no need to risk the lives of pilots, whose training costs more than the cost of the aircraft itself. The Air Force in general faced in the 20th century with a paradoxical, at first glance, problem - expensive and complex aircraft with pilots who received many years of complex education, a priori, cannot be massive. Plus, it is difficult to make up for their loss in the event of a large-scale war. As a result, relatively simple and cheap mass devices became the way out of this impasse. Although the original logic was quite different.


Tupolev machines


In 1957, the development of the Tu-121 began - an unmanned intercontinental vehicle controlled by an autopilot using an astronavigation system with a range of 3880 km. A similar idea was worked out by many, both in our country and in the USA, in those years ICBMs were not yet a panacea, simply because of the long preparation for launch and low accuracy. A prototype Tu-121 was built, it took off, but in 1960 the project was curtailed. The range and security of ballistic missiles have increased, and the niche of a heavy strike unmanned kamikaze aircraft has simply been unclaimed.

But the work was not done in vain - the Tu-121 grew on the basis of the Tu-123, which was also originally designed for strikes at long distances, but since 1960 they began to develop it for the Hawk system - long-range reconnaissance. For those years when satellites were not yet tracking the surface of the planet, the idea was interesting and promising. Tu-123 flew in different modifications. But only as prototypes. It was possible to bring to mind the next device - the Tu-139. In fact, a modification of the Tu-123. A total of 52 vehicles of all modifications were built.

The Tu-141 "Swift" and Tu-143 "Flight" became the truly serial and mass-produced Tupolev apparatus. The first produced since 1979 172 units, the second since 1982 - 950 units. These devices fought, however, after the collapse of the USSR. In Soviet times, they were more likely to be tested in combat conditions in Afghanistan and Syria, where one UAV was lost. The main use fell on the conflict in the Donbass. In 2014, one UAV was shot down near Shakhtyorsk, the second made a hard landing at an unplanned point. And during the NMD, two Tu-143s intercepted the air defense of the Russian Federation, and one, having broken out of control, flew right up to Croatia. UAVs cannot be blamed for this, their time by 2014 had long passed.

The problem of the Tupolev family was the size, jet engines and primitive control system. For the 70s - 80s it was normal and quite on the level, but the 90s required a different approach...

Lavochkin and others


The need for reconnaissance drones was recognized back in the 50s, and in 1956 the Lavochkin Design Bureau began developing the La-17R reconnaissance UAV. More precisely, not the development, but the alteration of the La-17 guided target. The device for those years came out quite good - 900 km / h speed, 260 km range, ceiling 7000 m, minimum height - 100 m. Production since 1963. In service for 10 years, delivered to Syria. Intelligence equipment at that time was solid:

"unmanned reconnaissance vehicles could carry AFA-40, AFBA-40, AFA-20, BPF-21, ASCHFA-5M cameras, the Chibis television camera, and Sigma radiation reconnaissance equipment."

Another project was developed by the MiG, this time - an UAV interceptor. The R-500 was supposed to intercept high-speed (including hypersonic) targets. An interesting project was not even brought to a prototype for the simple reason that hypersonic missiles, as well as the means of intercepting them, were beyond the capabilities of the technology of the early 60s.

Nevertheless, to summarize, we were doing well with heavy UAVs. All types were developed - targets, reconnaissance, shock and even interceptors. The models were brought to operation quite at the world level and even higher, purely quantitatively, our fleet of drones was at the world level.

Light UAVs


Elves, Mosquitoes, Bumblebees, Bees ... Israeli UAVs in 1982 showed a simple thing - small slow-moving vehicles are able to provide information in a fast mode much better and more efficiently than heavy jet vehicles. The niche of heavy vehicles is front-line reconnaissance, the niche of light vehicles is front-line reconnaissance. The USSR was challenged, and the challenge was answered. In general, the development of a light UAV went on even before the Syrian defeat, but in an initiative and unhurried manner. In a certain sense, the focus on the Third World War was the misfortune of our Armed Forces, and the little things did not fit into this concept. Nonetheless:

1976 - MAI designed an ultralight aircraft weighing 330 kg called Elf. By 1979, its radio-controlled version was developed. Having a speed of 195 km / h and a range of 120 km, the device came out quite well, but did not go into the series - only two copies were built.

1978 - three students created the PS-01 "Komar" as a graduation project. 180 km / h speed, 100 km range and only 90 kg of weight. The mosquito successfully flew, but also did not go into the series. Only three examples were built. And then the business was entrusted to professionals in the form of Yakovlev Design Bureau, which specialized in light aircraft.

In 1983, the Bumblebee-1 was created, a device weighing 130 kg. Speed ​​140 km / h, flight duration - two hours, good opportunities:

“It is equipped with interchangeable sets of reconnaissance equipment, which include a television camera, a thermal imaging camera, installed on a gyro-stabilized ventral platform. The television camera has a variable remotely adjustable viewing angle (3 - 30 degrees), the field of observation of the IR sensor is 3,4 flight heights. The resolution of the thermal imaging sensor is 3 mrad.”

Communication and control of the apparatus were provided at a distance of up to 60 km. 50 pre-production examples built. And then there was the Bee, essentially a perfected Bumblebee, which already flew confidently in 1990, but was put into service only in 1997. Used in the Chechen war, proved to be quite good.

Thus, we created light UAVs, and overcame the resulting backlog. But the collapse of the USSR and the cessation of funding for new projects caused a failure in the design of new devices. From there, there is a certain lag in quantity and quality. In principle, surmountable with normal funding and organization. We have a school and traditions. The backlog of the USSR in terms of UAVs is largely a myth.
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  1. andrewkor
    andrewkor 14 June 2022 04: 15
    +5
    I remember a long time ago (30 years ago) there was an article in the Technique of Youth about the development of small UAVs in the USA. So an advanced aircraft modeller received an order! I don’t remember the details, but I vouch for the fact!
    1. Civil
      Civil 14 June 2022 08: 20
      -3
      The backlog of the USSR in terms of UAVs is largely a myth.

      The USSR, as always, was a world power in all matters.
      And now ... Less than a year ago, here at VO "specialists" poured bad words on "children's toys" of UAVs. What can we say about the 00s.
      1. Baron pardus
        Baron pardus 2 September 2022 17: 18
        0
        I sometimes get the impression that many people work here, what is called to order. You read "articles" and are amazed at the nonsense that some authors carry. a) Any weapons supplied by Hohloschweinen are a priori "obsolete, underpowered and ineffective" b) The troops are bogged down and advancing 200m per day: "Slowing down the pace of the war and prolonging it is good." c) If the Russian army lacks something, then this is not necessary. (including about UAVs). d) We are driving the T-62 to the front "So it's good." It's just that sometimes the authors here drive such things that, compared to the Khokloschweinen propagandists with the Black Sea dug out by the Ukroshumers, they are a vivid example of eloquent, logical and sane people, such Clumsy and stupid propaganda that some "Experts" are driving here. still need to search.
    2. TatarinSSSR
      TatarinSSSR 7 September 2022 10: 50
      0
      I immediately remembered my youth) My parents subscribed to me the magazines Young Technician and Technique of Youth. I looked forward to each issue and read it)
  2. Vladimir_2U
    Vladimir_2U 14 June 2022 04: 19
    +1
    And then there was the Bee, in fact, the Bumblebee, brought to perfection, which already flew confidently in 1990, but was put into service only in 1997

    Wherever you poke, literally everywhere the failure of the 90s affects.
    1. paul3390
      paul3390 14 June 2022 04: 30
      +6
      And at the same time - even imagination is not enough to imagine what would be in service now if the Union had not collapsed ...
      1. BAI
        BAI 14 June 2022 12: 51
        +1
        Enough. There is such a book "The Broken Sword of the Empire".
    2. AUL
      AUL 14 June 2022 06: 40
      +12
      Quote: Vladimir_2U
      Wherever you poke, literally everywhere the failure of the 90s affects.

      How much can you nod at the 90s? They ended 30 years ago! So maybe we will also remember the Tatar-Mongolian yoke?
      1. faiver
        faiver 14 June 2022 06: 47
        -4
        Well, firstly, not thirty, but twenty years ago, and you can also remember the steppe dwellers, at least in terms of the population ....
      2. Vladimir_2U
        Vladimir_2U 14 June 2022 07: 07
        -4
        Quote: AUL
        How much can you nod at the 90s? They ended 30 years ago! So maybe we will also remember the Tatar-Mongolian yoke?

        Then do not wring your hands that the BPA and other things are not enough in the Russian Army.
        Quote: Vladimir_2U
        And then there was the Bee, in fact, the Bumblebee, brought to perfection, which already flew confidently in 1990, but was put into service only in 1997
        1. AUL
          AUL 14 June 2022 08: 47
          +3
          Quote: Vladimir_2U
          Then do not wring your hands that the BPA and other things are not enough in the Russian Army.

          1. And who is wringing their hands here? Announce the entire list, please!
          2. Decipher, please, the logical connection of my post with yours.
          1. Vladimir_2U
            Vladimir_2U 14 June 2022 09: 51
            -6
            Quote: AUL
            2. Decipher, please, the logical connection of my post with yours.

            You don’t see a logical connection between the lag of the Russian Army in terms of UAVs and the failure of 90-2010, but I have to explain something to you. Funny. A bee in 90 is developed, and only in 97 is accepted.

            Quote: AUL
            Who's wringing their hands here? Announce the entire list, please!
            Usually, those who do not connect the 90s with the failure of science and industry suffer especially from the current shortages and shortcomings. If you're not one of those, then I'm sorry.
            1. IImonolitII
              IImonolitII 14 June 2022 13: 19
              +3
              You don’t see a logical connection between the lag of the Russian Army in terms of UAVs and the failure of 90-2010, but I have to explain something to you.

              It is more logical to write "the failure of 1985-2022" and then there is no need to argue about anything
            2. Zaurbek
              Zaurbek 14 June 2022 14: 02
              +2
              The same "bee" with the avionics of the 80s and with the avionics-2020s are very different devices. and between these years, a failure in everything ... both in production and in the ability of the army to buy.
      3. Paladin
        Paladin 14 June 2022 08: 41
        0
        They ended 30 years ago!

        They ended 21 years ago. And the one who refuses to remember and nod, runs the risk of stepping on the same rake that he stepped on not even at TMI, but only 31 years ago. So I see))
    3. Sotskiy
      Sotskiy 14 June 2022 06: 59
      +5
      Quote: Vladimir_2U
      Wherever you poke, literally everywhere the failure of the 90s affects.

      And you don't poke wink It is customary for us to praise the 90s and erect monuments to them. lol
      It all started with Tagged, when a foreign newspeak appeared in everyday life in our "official" in the form of an incomprehensible, but beautiful word "conversion" fellow
  3. Toucan
    Toucan 14 June 2022 05: 01
    +7
    So so article negative The author has hit the nail on the head. There are no specifics and no technical data.
    1. LastPS
      LastPS 27 June 2022 08: 17
      +1
      And pictures (
  4. Evgenijus
    Evgenijus 14 June 2022 05: 15
    +3
    The author forgot to mention the Wing-2 UAV:
  5. riwas
    riwas 14 June 2022 05: 54
    +5
    To overcome the crisis in the construction of Russian UAVs, it was necessary to use the experience of China, namely, to study the best foreign models and then, starting from them, build our own, adding our own original improvements to the design.
    1. Brain_
      Brain_ 14 June 2022 11: 23
      0
      We started doing something similar. There was recently an article about the study of drones purchased in Israel.
    2. LastPS
      LastPS 27 June 2022 08: 19
      0
      Yes, this is not the experience of China, in general, all countries have always done this, having problems in some areas.
  6. Nafanya from the sofa
    Nafanya from the sofa 14 June 2022 06: 05
    +8
    and primitive control system. For the 70s - 80s it was normal and quite on the level, but the 90s required a different approach...

    What was the "primitiveness" of the control system (CS) of Tupolev 141/143, launched into series in the early 70s? There were simply no analogues at that time. A comparison of their SU with the SU of the 20s of the 21st century does not speak of the primitiveness of the SU itself, but of the primitiveness of the thinking of the author of such statements himself.
    1. TreeSmall
      TreeSmall 14 June 2022 17: 35
      +4
      There were simply no analogues at that time.

      Ryan Model 147A Fire Fly and Ryan Model 147B LIghtning Bug

      By and large, the first normal one is Interstate TDR-1: there was a TV camera and an operator’s screen
      1. Nafanya from the sofa
        Nafanya from the sofa 14 June 2022 17: 59
        -3
        Ryan Model 147 Lightning Bug - US military unmanned aerial vehicle developed in 1963, the company «Ryan Aeronautical».
        The design of the American military unmanned aerial vehicle model Ryan Model 147 Lightning Bug began in the late 50s of the last century. This air vehicle was intended for one single purpose - to be used as an air target.
        More details at: https://avia.pro/blog/ryan-model-147-lightning-bug-technicheskie-harakteristiki-foto

        Do you understand the difference between an aerial target and a reconnaissance UAV flying along a programmed route? Or do you just want to "think up" that the Americans "also had it, but better"? Not pretty!
        1. TreeSmall
          TreeSmall 14 June 2022 18: 33
          +1
          Of course I understand.
          "Do not read Soviet newspapers before meals"
          1. Why is it so superficial
          only Ryan Model 147B LIghtning Bug? And not the Ryan Model 147A Fire Fly?
          Beginning in 1962, the Model 147 was introduced as a ☝️reconnaissance RPV (Remotely Piloted Vehicle, nomenclature of that era) for a United States Air Force project named Fire Fly

          Ryan Model 147 "Lightning Bug" low-altitude ☝️reconnaissance drone (AQM-34L)

          targets, yeah fool

          In China and sowing. Korea
          Or do you just want to "think up" that the Americans "also had it, but better"?

          Who, what hurts ... he constantly itches about it
  7. svp67
    svp67 14 June 2022 07: 26
    0
    The backlog of the USSR in terms of UAVs is largely a myth.
    It remains to recall the work of Bekauri in the "Special Technical Bureau for Military Inventions for Special Purposes", with his experiments on telecontrol in the 30s, and to understand that the USSR was generally the ancestor
    1. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 14 June 2022 16: 57
      +4
      Quote: svp67
      It remains to recall the work of Bekauri in the "Special Technical Bureau for Military Inventions for Special Purposes", with his experiments on telecontrol in the 30s, and to understand that the USSR was generally the ancestor

      Better not. Otherwise, they will immediately remember how it all ended: the wave control boats that performed well at the pre-war demonstration exercises during the war were first defended at the bases, and then they lost their equipment and were converted back into conventional TKA.
      And the reason is simple. For some reason, no one thought about a small detail: the enemy could have aviation in the cover of the ships. And for the same "Arado" our "barn" is just a self-propelled target.
  8. Brain_
    Brain_ 14 June 2022 11: 26
    0
    Let's hope that by now everyone has already realized the importance of small UAVs. And in the next few years, their production will be put on stream.
    At the same time, they will find application not only in the military sphere, but also in the civil one. IMHO, to monitor the centers of forest fires, search for the missing. For airborne geophysical work, as well as terrain mapping. Yes, there are many options.
  9. iz odessy
    iz odessy 14 June 2022 13: 23
    -1
    I remember in 1990, in the TsGV, not far from Milovice, there was a military unit with an UAV, most likely TU. They launched, but he didn’t go there, he parachuted directly to Prague. What broke there and wounded someone. Time was coming to a conclusion. Gorbachev and Shevardnadzem reveled in their "peace-loving" initiatives like village fools. The case formed the motive for the "accelerated withdrawal" of the Central Group of Companies
  10. iouris
    iouris 14 June 2022 13: 50
    +3
    Do not confuse Soviet UAVs with modern ones. Those are two huge differences. Therefore: flies - separately, cutlets - separately.
  11. Knell wardenheart
    Knell wardenheart 14 June 2022 13: 54
    -3
    When they talk about the lag in UAVs, I'm always amazed - what's the problem? Have we lost competencies in the calculation of aerodynamic structures? Maybe we don't know how to make composites, or have we forgotten how to stamp aluminum? Maybe we don't know how to make small gasoline engines? High definition cameras? I really don’t catch up with what the problem is) No, of course, if the task is to chase the performance characteristics, then there are probably obstacles. And so the task is purely utilitarian - to deploy the mass production of not some kind of revolutionary products, but "workhorses" with which it is necessary to saturate the Armed Forces. To do this, we have everything or almost everything - you just need to create an organizational moment and finance.
    1. UAZ 452
      UAZ 452 14 June 2022 16: 34
      +4
      We had and still have problems with aircraft engines, if you at least periodically go to sites like VO, you couldn’t help but meet a bunch of information about it, with electronics, which means control systems, secure communications, navigation (it’s not funny, but the auto industry is forced to abandon GLONASS receivers in cars now being produced - satellites have not gone away, but everything is sad with the components installed on the car itself) - even more problems. We have never been famous for good optics either. And now, because of the sanctions, the general public has learned that our bearings are mostly imported, but how can we make a quadcopter without them, and an aircraft engine of any other type? But we can make the hull and wing ourselves, that's right. That's just the benefit of one body with a wing is not visible.
    2. iouris
      iouris 15 June 2022 12: 01
      +1
      Quote: Knell Wardenheart
      I always wonder - what's the problem?

      There is only one problem - in everything.
  12. UAZ 452
    UAZ 452 14 June 2022 16: 47
    +3
    We have a school and traditions. The backlog of the USSR in terms of UAVs is largely a myth.

    A very optimistic statement about the school and traditions, if the author in his article describes the latest development dating back to the 1990s. And where, in what freezer, were these "school and traditions" kept for decades? It turns out that those engineers who participated in the development of UAVs as yesterday's students are now approaching retirement age. Moreover, all their professional lives they were engaged in completely different tasks. So the myth is more about the existence of certain schools and traditions. And the myth is harmful, since now it is necessary not to boast of traditions, but shamelessly (fortunately - additional sanctions for patent infringements are no longer terrible) to copy available foreign samples, only at the next stages starting to improve them, and someday - develop something of your own. In the meantime, even for a single use in the presentation of any product, the words "has no analogues in the world" must be brought to the nearest wall and without trial or investigation ... the highest measure of social protection.
    1. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 14 June 2022 17: 02
      +4
      Quote: UAZ 452
      And where, in what freezer, were these "school and traditions" kept for decades?

      Judging by the well-known story with "Tipchak", there was definitely a freezer. This is when, already in the 2000s, the armies tried to suck in the latest and unparalleled A short-range UAV with a horizontal camera, and a complex of 6 UAVs required four KAMAZ vehicles. When they began to understand, it turned out that the military-industrial complex simply dusted off the development of the Soviet era.
      However, he did not lie in one native military-industrial complex - the complex really was unparalleled. Abroad, this was abandoned back in the 90s, but we had no alternatives at all.
      1. UAZ 452
        UAZ 452 14 June 2022 17: 43
        +1
        Do you want to laugh? Here is a story about our "unique and technologically advanced" (as in the text - you can see for yourself) armored train "Yenisei". In which air defense is carried out as follows: “We detect a target using an optical sight, aim, report to the commander, and after the command arrives, we begin to hit the target.” And we're talking about UAVs, you know ...
        https://tvzvezda.ru/news/20226141329-9fKPz.html
        1. Alexey RA
          Alexey RA 14 June 2022 18: 07
          +3
          Well, what can I say ... since I already had three warnings, then just prepositions.
          There is also blinding from sleepers and container iron depicting an armored car for shooters. Well, at least the BMP-2 was installed instead of the traditional PT-76.
      2. stankow
        stankow 23 July 2022 20: 24
        0
        4 Kamaz for 6 UAVs is the norm. Operator's room, communication, transport, repair, residential, food, security ...
        1. Alexey RA
          Alexey RA 23 July 2022 21: 01
          +2
          Quote: stankow
          4 Kamaz for 6 UAVs is the norm. Operator's room, communication, transport, repair, residential, food, security ...

          Nope. At Tipchak, these are: an antenna vehicle, an operator vehicle, a transport-launch vehicle and a technical support vehicle.
          Moreover, the antenna machine provides simultaneous operation of only two UAVs out of six available.

          But the complex of tactical UAVs healthy individual - with a three times greater range, eight times (!) Longer flight duration and a portable launcher:
          UAV "Orlan-10" - 4 units,
          mobile ground remote control station,
          maintenance and repair machine with spare parts kits
          1. stankow
            stankow 27 July 2022 18: 43
            0
            Yes, you exactly listed. And I - about what types are needed. 4 cars is not much, even the norm.
  13. Maksakov Alexander Nikolaevich
    Maksakov Alexander Nikolaevich 14 June 2022 19: 23
    0
    A good article, not quite complete, of course, the format is like that! But there is a depth to the topic!
  14. Pavel57
    Pavel57 14 June 2022 19: 25
    -2
    Reactive UAVs can be retrofitted with warheads, if there is a coordinate correction from the satellite. And so, it can be used to open air defense
  15. Maluck
    Maluck 15 June 2022 05: 39
    0
    There may not have been a lag in designs, but a prototype in real conditions will not help, a series is needed.
  16. Russian Patriot
    Russian Patriot 15 June 2022 05: 57
    0
    The article is too short. No photo, no explanation. How did this colossus Tu-141 land, for example? What is the difference from the Tu-143?
    Too many questions, so few answers...
    1. DWG1905
      DWG1905 18 June 2022 22: 54
      +2
      Tu-123 Yastreb did not land, only the nose part (a whole photo laboratory) was lowered by parachute. And Flights 143 and 243 were in different reconnaissance options. In my opinion, the most difficult thing is photo reconnaissance, I brought already developed large-format negatives, take and print photos. Calmly got the Bosphorus from the Crimea. For their time, our unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are a masterpiece, modern so-so, they are larger than UAVs (remotely piloted ...), although there are few UAVs, inertials are needed at least, you need to somehow navigate in space without a satellite. According to drones and their classes, now the people have everything in a bunch in their heads (the leaders too). For wars of different intensity, different drones are needed, something that works in Syria in Ukraine and will not survive for 5 minutes.
      1. stankow
        stankow 23 July 2022 20: 29
        0
        "take and print photos" ?? wink In general, photogrammers recognize targets and take coordinates from negatives or contact copies. Resolution is lost on paper and distortions are introduced.
  17. Aleksandr Ivanov
    Aleksandr Ivanov 23 June 2022 23: 01
    -1
    The author of the article correctly said: "But the collapse of the USSR and the cessation of funding for new projects caused a failure in the design of new devices. From there, a certain lag in quantity and quality. In principle, surmountable with normal funding and organization."
    There will be terms of reference and money - there will be devices. No money - no devices. And there is nothing more to add.
  18. zenion
    zenion 23 July 2022 14: 24
    0
    It was a backward, in comparison with Russia, an advanced country.
  19. Vladimir Michailovich
    Vladimir Michailovich 11 August 2022 06: 30
    -2
    It is not clear who, in the author's understanding in relation to the USSR, are we?
  20. AC130 Gunship
    AC130 Gunship 28 August 2022 16: 39
    0
    As a conclusion. Nothing serious for the period "after the USSR" in the mass segment in Russia was developed and released. About 5-10 years ago, they rushed to close up the hole and achieved certain results. The lag behind the United States today is about 25-30 years, especially if we take into account their ability to control UAVs from the other side of the globe ... I don’t think that the C70 Okhotnik will enter the mass segment (hundreds of pieces). Well, they will make 10-20 pieces (maybe). The cons of this topic of new Reapers will definitely not be added to the VKS ...
  21. Kostadinov
    Kostadinov 5 September 2022 10: 59
    0
    First of all, it is cheaper than planes,

    You can make very cheap piloted aircraft - cheaper than medium and large drones.
    plus, there is no need to risk the lives of pilots, whose training costs more than the cost of the aircraft itself.

    Unfortunately, the lives of people are risked by the war. If the first place is the preservation of people's lives, and not victory, then the war should not be started. Pilot training for light, cheap aircraft will be cheap and short.
    In the 20th century, the Air Force generally faced a paradoxical, at first glance, problem - expensive and complex aircraft with pilots who received many years of complex education, a priori, cannot be massive.

    Then we must return to cheap, simple aircraft with pilots with short training. Such an air force can hit a very massive - tens of thousands of aircraft. Mini and micro drones can be replaced with a little tethered balloons that will be even cheaper and easier.