The "Spectator" is an all-weather Ukrainian-originated Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). It is an unarmed drone offering with inherent versatility to serve across military, civilian, and industry sectors covering such roles as border enforcement, Search and Rescue (SAR), general observation, maritime patrol and the like.
The aircraft was developed by Politeko Aero LLC with the Kiev Polytechnic Institute and the Chuguev Aircraft Repair Plant and a first-flight was recorded in 2014. Manufacturing is handled under the start-up JSC Meridian brand label.
The Spectator (specifically the more advanced 'Spectator-M" variant) is in active service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine (the Ukrainian Air Force) as well as the country's border service. The nation has since taken on a fleet of about sixty airframes.
The aircraft is given a conventional, wholly-traditional design arrangement centered on a slim, rounded-slab-sided fuselage. The mainplanes are shoulder-mounted and seated just ahead of midships, each being capped by winglet surfaces. The tail unit showcases a single vertical fin as well as low-set horizontal planes. A two-bladed propeller unit is affixed to the nose of the aircraft and driven by an internal motor. Like other UASs of this class, the aircraft is equipped with an optics set and can be modified to carry certain sensors and imagers to better suit the mission need.
Dimensions of the aircraft include a running length of 4.25 feet, a wingspan of 9.84 feet, and an MTOW (Maximum Take-Off Weight) of 12lb. The air vehicle is capable of reaching 75 miles-per-hour speeds up to an altitude of 6,560 feet. Operational range is out to 9 miles.
The initially-produced variant was simply designated "Spectator" and this version appeared in 2014. This model was followed by the improved, slightly larger second-generation "Spectator-M" which appeared before the end of year - the increased size and power allowing for greater payloads to be carried. The "Spectator-M1" has since emerged as a lighter-weight, third generation offering carrying thermal imaging equipment, sporting an improved recovery system, and featuring an extended operational range. This model was introduced in during 2019 and officially inducted into Ukrainian military service in June of 2020.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
✓Special-Mission: Search & Rescue (SAR)
Ability to locate and extract personnel from areas of potential harm or peril (i.e. downed airmen in the sea).
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.
Mainplanes capped with winglets, providing improved fuel efficiency and enhanced handling.
Design features ability to fly sans pilot, actions controlled onboard through programming and / or ground-based operator.
Payload supports photographic equipment providing still and / or real-time image / video results.
4.3 ft (1.30 m)
9.8 ft (3.00 m)
11 lb (5 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base JSC Spectator production variant)
monoplane / shoulder-mounted / straight
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represent the most popular mainplane arrangement.
Mainplanes are mounted at the upper section of the fuselage, generally at the imaginary line intersecting the pilot's shoulders.
The planform involves use of basic, straight mainplane members.
(Structural descriptors pertain to the base JSC Spectator production variant)
1 x Engine driving a two-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.
Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), and SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane.