Russia has deployed a squadron of Forpost reconnaissance and targeting drones in the annexed Crimea, the Russian newspaper Izvestia reported.
The drones have been stationed near Sevastopol and will fall under the 318th mixed aircraft regiment of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet as of this spring. The drones can carry out reconnaissance and provide targeting information for ship missile systems, Bastion coastal systems, and artillery. They have already been tested in drills at sea.
The Forpost tactical drone is a licensed copy of the Israeli Searcher MkII which has been produced at the Ural Civil Aviation Plant since 2010. By 2018, the Russian army had nearly 30 Forpost systems, assembled from imported components. As of 2019, the Russian Defense Ministry plans to obtain completely localized drones as well as Forpost-M drones that have been upgraded based on combat experience in Syria.
A Forpost drone reconnaissance system includes three aircraft and a ground-based control station. A single drone weighs 500 kg, and can carry 100 kg of cargo and 99 kg of fuel. The drone can accelerate to 200 km/h and can carry out reconnaissance from an altitude of 5 km for 16 hours at a range of up to 400 km.