KB LUCH Sokil-300 / Falcon-300
On June 15–18, 2021, the only event in Ukraine in the field of aviation and space technologies – Aviasvit-XXI International Aviation and Space Salon – took place at the International Exhibition Centre. Aviation industry of Ukraine was traditionally represented by booths of industry leaders and numerous booths of public and private enterprises. The real trend of the exhibition in 2021 was a large number of companies that presented unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) of various types and purposes.
The real highlight of this year’s exhibition was the exposition of Luch Design Bureau, namely its presentation of the model of the first Ukrainian strike drone – Sokil-300. Representatives of Luch informed that the unmanned aerial vehicle is able to perform both striking and reconnaissance functions. Therefore, the configuration of the UAV will depend on its purpose. The head of the Design Bureau, Oleh Korostelov, noted that the UAV will have several advantages over the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 UAV and will be a worthy alternative. The main advantage of Sokil-300 will be its ability to operate in poor weather conditions.
Sokol-300 is a development from a Ukrainian enterprise working on anti-tank systems, the Alder multiple launch rocket system and the anti-ship Neptune. “During the work on Neptune, we have achieved that the individual components of this large complex - they were developed, manufactured, tested and implemented, but on a different aircraft - on a cruise missile. Now we have simply transferred everything that we have developed there to this low-speed, subsonic aircraft, ”Oleg Korostelev, general director of the Luch Design Bureau, said.
The Falcon-300 complex from KB LUCH is designed to conduct reconnaissance and strike at the operational and tactical depth of the enemy. The main characteristics of the drone: payload weight - 300 kg; maximum take-off weight - 1225 kg; the wingspan of the UAV is 14 m, and the length is 8.57 m; maximum speed - 335 km / h; cruising speed - from 150 to 335 km / h; control system - IHS + GPS + terrain map; can be equipped with one of three engines - MS-500V-05C / CE, AI-450T2 and Rotax 91; flight duration - 3-26 h (depending on the engine); design flight range - 1000-3300 km (depending on the engine); armament - guided missiles with a range of up to 10 km. The expected cost of one UAV of the first batch is about 45 million hryvnias, with further reduction by 30-40% due to serial production.
Take the Falcon-300 and try to compare it with the Bayraktar TB2 (the Turk is also a reconnaissance and strike force). The Ukrainian device is bigger, and in some respects even better: the payload of the Bayraktar TB2 is 50 kg (we have 300 kg); maximum takeoff weight - 650 kg ("Falcon" - twice as much); the wingspan of the UAV is 12 m, and the length is 6.5 m; maximum speed - 222 km / h ("Falcon" - 335 km / h); flight duration - 24 hours 34 minutes.
KB Luch (developers of Sokil-300) says that the research and development work will require about 150 million hryvnias (over 5 million dollars). "It may seem like a big number, but if you know how much we bought a Turkish complex ($ 69 million - this is what Ukraine paid Turkey for two Bayraktar TB2 complexes, including delivery, training… - Ed.), Then it's just insignificant. Much smaller. And the cost of one device, according to our calculations, will not exceed 40-45 million hryvnias (1.4-1.5 million dollars). This is also very little, "added the director of the company Oleg Korostelov.
If domestic air vehicles are cheaper than foreign counterparts, then what is the problem, why do Ukrainians not launch them into serial production? "Yes, there is a concept, single prototypes, however, in terms of practical implementation, mass production… Required funds and about three years. However, understand that the military will not invest in projects (even if they are very promising). Unfortunately, private enterprises, first of all, do not have their own funds (or they are not enough), - Mykhailo Zhyrokhov assures . - Ukraine is now at war, funds for the army are needed now. Because of this, we just have to buy ready-made to have something to fight… And to bring the same "Falcon-300" to the path - it takes time. But the war in Donbass will not wait. Yes, in the future you need to have your own strike drone, and not one… ".
A similar opinion was expressed by Kirill Novikov, highlighting two important factors. The first is the complexity of financing. Despite the fact that 5% of the budget goes to defense and security (probably the highest percentage among European countries), unfortunately, in the current economic conditions, this is relatively little money.
However, the point here is not only to ensure sufficient funding, but also to organize effective work at all levels. So, the second factor is the state defense order. "We have this case reviewed several times a year. There are differences of opinion between the General Staff of the Armed Forces, the Ministry of Defense and the National Security and Defense Council. All this leads to conflict situations and misunderstandings. Because of this, we have a serious problem in planning, forming and using the state defense order. Accordingly, enterprises suffer," the aviation expert added.
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