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SEAS 2021: Modernised Vrabac mini-UAV enters serial production

An upgraded version of the hand-launched Vrabac (Sparrow) mini-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has entered serial production in Serbia, Nenad Miloradović, the assistant minister for material resources in the Serbian Ministry of Defence (MoD), revealed during a presentation on the opening day of the online/hybrid Southeast Europe Aviation Summit (SEAS 2021) in Belgrade on 18 May.

The day-and-night-capable Vrabac is designed for reconnaissance and surveillance missions and is developed by the the MoD’s Military Technical Institute (Vojnotehnički Institut, VTI). The UAV has been extensively tested by the Serbian Armed Forces’ Technical Test Center (Tehnički Opitni Centar, TOC).

The 1.94 m-long UAV has a maximum take-off weight of 9 kg and features a wingspan of 2.8 m with a total wing area of 0.75 m2. It offers a maximum payload capacity of 1.5 kg and is designed to operate at altitudes between 300 and 500 m.

The air vehicle is powered by a 800W DC motor that drives a composite, folding, double-legged traction propeller, enabling it to achieve loiter speeds of 55 km/h, as well as cruise and maximum speeds of 70 km/h and 120 km/h respectively. It lands automatically using a parachute and underbelly airbag, although it can also perform belly landings if necessary.

A pre-production version of the Vrabac was unveiled on 21 August 2020 in a demonstration of the country’s indigenous defence-industrial capabilities. At the time the air vehicle was said to offer 45 minutes of endurance. A complete system costs EUR160,000 (USD195,000) and comprises three UAVs and a ground control system.

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