The Orlan-10 is the most widely used and effective drone on the Ukrainian battlefield by the Russian army, far exceeding the “Orion” that only shows symbolic existence. This small UAV is especially popular with the Russian artillery unit, used for reconnaissance and laser guided firing, Russian artillery destroyed a variety of NATO equipment, including M777 howitzer with the help of Orlan-10, are considered to be related to the Orlan-10, this small UAV has made a great contribution.
Compared with similar products made in the West and other countries, The Orlan-10 drone is considered to have a performance and reliability deviation, especially its optical sensors, which even have to be supplemented with Canon cameras. Most importantly, most of the parts of this UAV are imported commercial components, perhaps only the shell and GLONASS navigation system is made in Russia, some analysts believe that the cost of an Orlan-10 UAV is not expensive, up to 8,000 US dollars, but somehow, the Russian Ministry of Defense’s purchase price is as high as 80,000-120,000 US dollars.
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) August 19, 2022
Recently, the Ukrainian army once again showed a downed Orlan-10 drone, it is worth noting that the shot-down Orlan-10 drone did not have a photoelectric sensor, but only carried a Canon EOS750D digital camera. Analysts believe that the downed Orlan-10 drone may have been recently manufactured, the reason why it did not carry a photoelectric sensor, is because of the sanctions. The manufacturer has been difficult to obtain critical components, and can only use digital cameras, which is likely to make the rear controller unable to watch the real-time picture, only after the drone returns from the watch, greatly affecting its combat efficiency, it is difficult to deal with those mobile targets with limited time windows.
Long before operation special operations began, the Ukrainian military acquired multiple Orlan-10 drones, many of which were intact, meaning they had fallen on the battlefield due to reliability issues, rather than being attacked by Ukrainian air defenses. Although the Orlan-10 UAV uses a large number of imported commercial parts, with the intensification of sanctions, the Russian Special Technology Center Co., Ltd. that produces Orlan-10 UAVs is becoming more and more difficult to obtain various parts, which directly leads to the problem of the production of Orlan-10 UAVs and is difficult to meet the needs of the Russian military.
Right now, anyone can purchase the Orlan-10 UAV parts from Alibaba for just few lakh Indian rupees. It uses a SAITO four-stroke gasoline engine, which is made by a Japanese company cost 1Lakh INR. While the majority of the semiconductor microchips used in the Orlan-10 UAV are from China and only cost around 1000 INR. Russians are also using plastic bottles for fuel tanks.
In fact, from the beginning of the Orlan-10 drone equipping the Russian army, it has been facing the problem of not being taken seriously, until the performance in the east Ukrainian battlefield proves its value. In the “special military operation”, the Russian artillery unit praised the Orlan-10 UAV, its maximum range of more than 600 kilometers, remote control distance of 120 kilometers, greatly improving the combat effectiveness of the Russian artillery unit, but the problem is that the number is seriously insufficient, many Russian artillery units have never even been in contact with this UAV.
And even those Russian artillery units that own Orlan-10 drones may not be able to give full play to this kind of drone: unlike the Ukrainian army, which recruits enthusiasts from the civilian population in large numbers, most of the Russian drone pilots are selected and trained from non-commissioned officers, strictly according to standards, and lack sufficient enthusiasm and innovation. In addition, the Orlan-10 UAV, which uses a large number of civilian parts, is also inferior to military products in terms of reliability, which is also the main reason why it often falls and loses contact.