Yakovlev has completed Russian defence ministry acceptance trials of an upgraded Pchela-1IK unmanned air vehicle (UAV) equipped with a night-capable infrared surveillance system.

The in-service Pchela has a daylight-only system. Testing has also been completed on the Pchela-1T with a new daylight television system and the Pchela-1VM target.

Russia bought daylight-capable Pchela systems after service trials during the Chechnya conflict. Funding for the new Pchela versions is expected in the defence budget for 2003.

Meanwhile, in-service Pchela air vehicles are being upgraded to provide secure, real-time, datalinks to manned reconnaissance and strike aircraft. Last year, the Russian air force demonstrated use of upgraded Ilyushin Il-20 surveillance aircraft and Pchela UAVs to allocate targets for Sukhoi Su-30s. Yakovlev says it is working on smaller versions of the vehicle.

Source: Flight International