From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
An Orlan-10 on display in 2022
Role Reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle
National origin Russia
Manufacturer Special Technology Center (STC)
Introduction 2011
Status In service
Primary users Russian Ground Forces
Ministry of Emergency Situations (Russia)[1]
Kazakhstan State Committee for National Security[3][4]
Armed Forces of Kazakhstan[5]
Wagner Group[6]

The Orlan-10 (Russian: Орлан-10) is a reconnaissance, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by the Special Technology Center (STC) in Saint Petersburg for the Russian Armed Forces.[7][8] The Orlan-10 features a composite fuselage that reduces its radar signature.[9]

Drones are usually deployed in groups of two or three; the first is used for reconnaissance at a height of 1,000 to 1,500 metres (3,300 to 4,900 ft), the second for electronic warfare and the third as a data relay.[10] One system can include up to five vehicles.[11]

In 2020, a larger Orlan-30 version was introduced, with a laser designator option to increase the effectiveness of other precision weapons.[12]

Production history[edit]

Orlan-10 being carried by soldier

More than 1,000 Orlan-10s have been produced (2018), with 11 different variations.[13] More Orlan-10s and 30s were ordered in August 2022.[14] The price for one system (including 2 drones, a portable launch complex, a control station and a set of spare parts) was reportedly 5 million rubles ($150,000) in 2013.[15]

Over 50 Orlan UAVs were delivered for export in 2021 to Russia's allies.[16] It has seen action in Ukraine, Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh.[17][18]

In 2023, reports stated that components made in Ireland[19] and STMicroelectronics microchips were found in Orlan drones, in spite of the sanctions regime imposed on Russia.[20] On 3 January 2023, CBS News reported that Orlan-10 shot in the past 4 months contained U.S. and Swiss made microchips (Maxim, Microchip and U-Blok) used for their ability to connect to the GLONASS positioning system for navigation. These chips are also able to access the GPS and Galileo systems contributing to redundancy and increase accuracy for flying and targeting.[21]

In July 2023, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu stated that the supplies of Orlan-10 and -30 drones had surged 53 times since early 2022.[22] In February 2024, the manufacturer claimed an annual production of over 1000 Orlan-10.[23]


Orlan-30 at a 2022 trade show

In 2020, a larger Orlan-30 version was introduced, with a laser designator option to increase the effectiveness of other precision weapons, following testing in 2019.[12][24] Its export version was first presented in August 2023.[25]

Operational history[edit]


Orlan-10 on the launch catapult

War in Donbass[edit]

The Orlan-10 is reportedly being used in the Russo-Ukrainian War. In this conflict aerial reconnaissance by unmanned aerial vehicles is banned by the Minsk agreements.[10] Ukrainian officials have claimed to have had shot down or captured several UAVs of this type since 2014:

  • In May 2014, Ukrainian officials reported that they had shot down an Orlan-10 in Ukraine.[8][26]
  • In July 2014, Ukrainian forces shot down two UAVs of this type – No. 10212 near Zelenopillia[27] and No. 10237 near Amvrosiivka.[28]
  • In August 2014, another Orlan-10 (No. 10215) was shot down by the Ukrainian forces with Strela-10 SAM system.[29]
  • In April 2016, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) published a video of the UAV (No. 10264) which it claimed to have shot down near Avdiivka.[30]
  • In November 2016, Ukrainian officials stated that they had retrieved an Orlan-10 (No. 10332) drifting on the Azov Sea near Mariupol.[31]
  • In September 2017, an Orlan-10 (No. 11057) fell down on Ukrainian territory and was captured by Ukrainian forces.[32]
  • On 28 December 2017, Ukrainian troops shot down another Orlan-10 near Toretsk.[10]
  • On 10 January 2018, Ukrainian troops shot down another Orlan-10.[33]
  • On 13 October 2018, an Orlan-10 was shot down by a Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopter using gunfire near Lysychansk.[34][35]
  • On 19 November 2018, an Orlan-10 UAV was shot down by Ukrainian air defense forces.[36] RB-341V Leer-3 electronic warfare systems, which can control up to three Orlan-10 drones, were also spotted in Ukraine by OSCE in 2018 and 2020.[37][38]

2022 invasion of Ukraine[edit]

Orlan-10 used during the invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

An upgraded strike version of the Orlan-10 able to carry four high-explosive fragmentation projectiles was reportedly used in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[39] According to the Ukrainian Military, at least 85 have been shot down in combat during the war,[40][41][failed verification][when?] including by a UK-supplied Martlet missile.[42] A version called Moskit is used for EW.[43]

In December 2022, Colonel Yurii Solovey, head of air defense for the Ukrainian ground forces, stated his units had destroyed more than 580 Orlan-10s since the invasion began, and the lack of drones affected Russian forces' ability to recon for artillery and counterbattery fire. Alternative drones were employed to fill the Orlan-10's role, but they are difficult to procure due to dependence on components originating from countries that have imposed sanctions.[44] However, in July 2023, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu stated that the supplies of Orlan-10 and -30 drones had surged 53 times since early 2022.[22]

On 17 October 2023, Andrii Biletskyi, commander of the Ukrainian 3rd Assault Brigade, said that the Orlan was an issue for Ukrainian forces due to its resistance to jamming and ability to help with artillery fire and reconnaissance.[45]

On 27 April 2024, an Orlan-10 was shot down by the crew of a Ukrainian Yakovlev Yak-52 sport aircraft. As the Yak-52 is unarmed, it is believed that the drone was disabled by the Yak-52's second crew member, likely by firing at it with a machine gun from the plane as it approached the drone.[46]


Orlan-10 drone with on-board orange parachute

The Orlan-10 is being actively used by the Russian Ground Forces in the Syrian Civil War for either reconnaissance, collecting aerial imagery or 3D-mapping in support of humanitarian convoys and S&R operations.[47]

In November 2015, an Orlan-10 located the surviving member of a downed Russian Su-24M2 bomber and facilitated his speedy recovery.[47]

On 10 March 2020, an Orlan-10 drone was shot down by Syrian rebels in Suluk, Raqqa Governorate.[48]

On 9 June 2021, an Orlan-10 killed a prominent HTS member known as Abu Khalid al-Shami.[49]


In early February 2022, an Orlan-10 drone crashed near Brest.[50][51]


On 13 March 2022, an Orlan-10 was found on a field in Bistrița-Năsăud County, Romania. It was initially thought to be a drone owned by a private person in Romania, however it was soon identified as a Russian-made Orlan-10. The investigation is ongoing.[52][53] According to the Ukrainian Air Force, the drone belongs to the Russian army.[54]


On 16 July 2022, Islamic State in the Greater Sahara shot down an Orlan-10 in Ménaka Region operated by Wagner Group.[6]


Orlan-10 before slingshot launch with soldier in attendance

The Orlan-10, while not sophisticated, is cheap and simple to operate. It flies too high to be vulnerable to short-range air defences, but is too inexpensive to justify using costly long-range defences. It provides a sufficient view of the battlefield to identify targets.[55]

Data from [citation needed]

General characteristics

  • Capacity: 6 kg (13 lb) payload
  • Max takeoff weight: 15 kg (33 lb)
  • Launch method: folding catapult platform
  • Landing method: parachute recovery
  • Max. wind speed at launch: 10 m/s
  • Operational temperature range: −30 to +40 °C
  • Powerplant: 1 × Saito Manufacturing FA-62B single-cylinder four-stroke glow fuel piston engine, 0.71 kW (0.95 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 150 km/h (93 mph, 81 kn)
  • Combat range: 110 km (68 mi, 59 nmi)
  • Ferry range: 600 km (370 mi, 320 nmi)
  • Endurance: 16 hours
  • Service ceiling: 5,000 m (16,000 ft)



See also[edit]


  1. ^ @UAWeapons (April 30, 2022). "#Ukraine: Another Orlan-10 drone of the Russian Forces crashed. However, this one is unusual- it has markings indicating that it is from the Ministry of Emergency Situations" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ "First Export of Russian Orlan-E Drones Goes to Myanmar". Defense world. 22 January 2021.
  3. ^ "Kyrgyzstan to acquire Bayraktar TB2 UAVs from Turkey". Jane's.
  4. ^ "ЦАМТО / Киргизия заказала 6 БЛА "Орлан-10Е" и 3 "Байрактар TB2"". Arms trade.
  5. ^ "Russia delivers combat aircraft, missile systems to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan this year". Taß.
  6. ^ a b "WATCH: ISIS militants in Mali shoot down drone of Russia's mercenary Wagner Group". euroweeklynews. 19 July 2022. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
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  8. ^ a b Ostrovsky, Simon (30 May 2014). "Ukraine Says it Shot Down a Russian Spy Drone". Vice. Archived from the original on 31 May 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  9. ^ "Russia: Northeastern Forces operate Orlan-10 drones". Air recognition. Archived from the original on 2019-03-22. Retrieved 2019-05-18.
  10. ^ a b c Ukrainian troops shoot down Russian drone in ATO zone, UNIAN (29 December 2017)
  11. ^ "ЦАМТО / Новости / В Приморском крае мотострелки ВВО получили завершающую партию комплексов БЛА "Орлан-10"". Arms trade.
  12. ^ a b Ripley, Tim (3 October 2019). "Russia to bring new Orlan UAV variant into service next year". Jane's 360. IHS. Archived from the original on 4 October 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  13. ^ "Уникальная отечественная разработка: эксклюзивные кадры с испытаний "Орланов" под Петербургом". Zvezda (TV channel). 2018-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-21. Retrieved 2019-05-18 – via You tube.
  14. ^ "ЦАМТО / Главное / На форуме «Армия-2022» подписаны 7 и вручены 29 госконтрактов с 26 предприятиями ОПК".
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  20. ^ Pacella, Mattia (5 May 2023). "Come migliaia di chip "elvetici" finiscono ancora in Russia". Radiotelevisione svizzera di lingua italiana, succursale della Società svizzera di radiotelevisione.
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