Air Platforms

Belarus expands UAV offering

30 May 2017

A number of new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and variants were presented at the MILEX 2017 exhibition, which took place in Minsk from 20-22 May.

They included a new version of the United Arab Emirates' Adcom Systems Yabhon Flash-20 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV known as the Belar YS-EX, which was developed in conjunction with Belarusian company Indela. This uses raised wingtips compared to the flat wingtips on the original design, reducing the UAV's wingspan by 0.5 m. However, performance is broadly identical to the Yabhon Flash-20, with a payload of 280 kg and a maximum take-off weight of 1,400 kg. The Belar YS-EX is controlled from a ground station similar in size to a standard shipping container, with a control antenna mounted on the roof.

Elsewhere the 558 Aircraft Repair Plant (ARP) has developed the Burevestnik MB long-range UAV, designed for surveillance and reconnaissance. Flight trials were set to begin in March 2016, with photographs released by the company at MILEX 2017 showing high-quality images from the aircraft's sensors and flight manoeuvres. The UAV was also shown fitted with two loitering munitions.

Meanwhile, a new variant of the Busel UAV known as the Busel-M50 expands on the previous Busel-M and Busel models with an increased range of 70 km, take-off weight of 14 kg and 150-minute flight time. This can carry TV, infrared, multispectral or photographic sensors and uses GPS, GLONASS and an autopilot system for navigation.

Belarus also produces a number of other small UAVs including the Berkut-1 and -2, the former of which was shown at MILEX mounted to a Volat V1 tactical 4x4 on a side-mounted launch rail, with the control station located in the vehicle's passenger compartment.

The 2.7 kg BP-12 Mosquito man-portable UAV was shown at the show in both flight and travelling configurations, with the latter comprising a ruggedised laptop control station and a backpack containing the UAV.

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