With drones becoming the military operational norm across all major powers of the world, Serbia has followed suit, adopting the Vrabac ("Sparrow") low-altitude mini Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes. The vehicle was introduced in 2008 with the Serbian Army, was designed by Military Technical Institute Belgrade and is produced under the Utva Aviation Industry banner. Over 50 of the type are thought to have been produced since 2008.
As a mini UVA, the Vrabac is allowed certain benefits such as not requiring an expensive launching or recovery process. The system is simply hand-launched when needed and recovered via an internal-release parachute system and cushioned to the ground via a deployed airbag. The Vrabac can operate in both full-light and low-light settings and utilizes modern optics to suit the role through a 1.5 kilogram payload limit. Additionally, the mini UAV is wholly portable as it weighs in at 5.3 kilograms. Construction involves lightweight composites while power is served through a 350 horsepower motor driving a two-bladed propeller assembly at the nose. Optics are held under the fuselage and viewed through a transparent housing. Wings are conventionally set high along the fuselage and feature a slight upwards crank after the wingroot. The empennage is a thin, tapered stem holding a single vertical tail gin and high-mounted horizontal tail plane. There is no integral undercarriage due to the unique take-off and landing actions of the system.
In addition to its military value, the Vrabac can be utilized by security forces for all manner of civilian reconnaissance and surveillance including humanitarian initiatives.
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