The Ukrainian industry for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs) was a flourishing one even before the Russian invasion of the country in February of 2022. In 2015, the Ukrainian Armed Forces adopted a new drone for the Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) role in the Leleka-100 by UKRSPEC Systems. This tactical-level, robust, and reliable UAS is marketed to the military, industrial, and commercial / civilian sectors, touted with its versatility, ease-of-operation, and low-cost procurement / maintenance. It is an all-weather, day / night solution supporting a variety of camera types.
The Lekeka-100 features a conventional design arrangement with all pertinent systems concentrated in the centralized fuselage. The monoplanes are seated at the shoulder while tailplanes are arranged as outward-canted angles. Propulsion comes from a pair of two-bladed propeller units ahead of the wing leading edges as well as a single, two-bladed unit set aft of the tail unit in pusher arrangement. Its electric drive system allows it to operate relatively quietly - a particularly important quality in the low-level / low-altitude envelop. The gyrostabilized optics set (High-Resolution, Electro-Optical, or InfraRed supported) is located at the nose of the aircraft (as opposed to a traditional blister pack under the body).
Once airborne, the drone is fully-automatic. The complete system includes the Ground Control Station (GCS), a manual remote-control unit, and antennas. Communications from the GCS and drone unit are fully-encrypted through a radio channel allowing the ground operator to take-over the aircraft as needed or ensure proper working of the autonomous flight operation. Range of the data link is 28 miles. Waypoints are pre-programmed and a fully-automatic navigation system is used including "auto-return" - an especially useful safety / recovery feature if signal to the unit is lost.
The aircraft can remain airborne for up to 2.5 hours and has a maximum flight altitude of 5,000 feet (1,500 m). The rated Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) is 12lb (5.5 kg).
The aircraft is shipped in a light-weight, hardened container making it possible to transport by any commercial land vehicle. Take-off and landing of the unit is through a bungee / catapult start and belly / parachute-landing finish, respectively.
May 2021 - Ukraine has formally adopted the Leleka-100 ISR drone.
April 2022 - A Leleka-100 reconaissance drone was claimed shot down by Russian Naval Intelligence forces.
(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).
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Serving Special Forces / Special Operations elements and missions.
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.
Design incorporates rear-facing pusher-prop arrangement, a contrast to the more conventional puller-prop layout.
Design utilizes an all-electric powerplant for drive power.
Inherent ability of airframe to take considerable damage.
Can reach and operate at higher altitudes than average aircraft of its time.
EXTENDED RANGE PERFORMANCE
Capability to travel considerable distances through onboard fuel stores.
Design features ability to fly sans pilot, actions controlled onboard through programming and / or ground-based operator.
Design features autonomous flight operations made possible through onboard artificial intelligence or pre-programming.
Payload supports photographic equipment providing still and / or real-time image / video results.
6.5 ft (1.98 m)
11.5 ft (3.50 m)
3.7 ft (1.14 m)
13 lb (6 kg)
13 lb (6 kg)
+0 lb (+0 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base UKRSPEC Systems Leleka-100 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 UKRSPEC Systems Leleka-100 production variant)
1 x Electric motor driving 2 x Two-bladed propellers in puller arrangement at wing leading edges and 1 x Two-bladed propeller in pusher arrangement at rear of fuselage.
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