During MSPO 2019 in Kielce last week a wide range of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) of various classes were showcased by Polish defence companies. Among them is the PGZ-19R tactical UAS, which was selected by the Polish Army in November 2018. At the same time, this UAV is offered to civilian operators, both in Poland and internationally.

WZL-2 (Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze No. 2) from Bydgoszcz is one Polish leader in this field. It is also involved in several modernisation programmes, including Su-22, MiG-29, C-130 and F-16 aircraft projects. During MSPO 2019 the company presented several of its projects at PGZ’s pavilion. The most mature one is the PGZ-19R UAS, designated ORLIK by the Armament Inspectorate. The November order was for eight sets, with an option for an additional four. Deliveries are planned between 2021-2023, with the optional aircraft potentially being delivered 2023-2026.

PGZ-19R is a tactical, short-range UAS, developed as a reconnaissance vehicle for ground units. It was designed in cooperation with another Polish company, PIT-Radwar. While WZL-2 is responsible for the vehicle itself and serves as project leader and integrator, PIT-Radwar’s duties include the Ground Control Station. The first variant, known as E-310, was presented during MSPO 2015. According to the designers, the PGZ-19 can transmit high-quality data in real time and can operate at significant distances from the launching point. It has a hybrid engine and is launched by a pneumatic take-off system. Its maximum take-off weight is between 80-90kg with a payload of 20 kilogrammes.

The vehicle is equipped with an optoelectronic warhead with daytime camera, infra-red camera, laser-target indicator and a laser-range finder, as well as with SAR radar with GDMI. Its cruising speed is between 120-180km/h and operational range is up to 150 kilometres. It can stay airborne for up to 12 hours and its declared service ceiling is 5,000 metres. PGZ-19’s wingspan is 5.4 metres, while its length is 3.1 metres. According to WZL-2, two operators can prepare the system for a mission in 30 minutes.

Another UAS showcased by WZL-2 was the DROZD, which is designed for reconnaissance operations. It is equipped with an electric engine and can take off either from a launcher or from a provisional airstrip. According to WZL-2, its wingspan is 3.8m, length 2.3m and maximum take-off weight is 25kg. Its declared maximum speed is between 70-160km/h. Endurance is 2 hours and range is 10km.

Robert Czulda

The PGZ-19R on display at MSPO 2019 in Kielce. (Photo: Robert Czulda)

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