Russia's Land Forces has accepted into service the Tipchak mobile air reconnaissance system (1K133), the sensor payload for which was developed by Russian electronics company Vega, which says that the purchase of 10 units is funded under the the country's 2008 defence budget.

Following Russian acceptance trials in 2006 and 2007 the decision to accept the Tipchak was taken late last year. The 1K133 has an operational range of up to 70km (38nm) and can provide targeting for Iskander missiles at distances up to 350km (217miles).

The Tipchak is a new-generation tactical reconnaissance system developed to replace the Kulon Stroi-P.

The platform for the Tipchak is the Rybinsk-based Luch design house 9M62 (other designation BLA-05). The 9M62 is launched by pneumatic catapult, is powered by a single 12hp (8.95kW) Hirth piston engine, has an endurance of up to 4h, a maximum take-off weight of 70kg (154lb), a top speed of 108kt (200km/h) and has an entirely composite structure with a metal frame inside for higher strength and onboard camera protection. The Tipchak uses parachute recovery.

Its Vega payload uses video and infrared sensors that have a combined mass of 14.5kg (31.9lb). It also has a real-time digital data link for communication with artillery units for laser-guided weapon targeting, including the 152mm (4.9in) Krasnopol howitzer shell and the 300mm Smerch multiple rocket system.