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Croatia uses Orbiter 3B UAS in live-fire drills for first time

Croatian Kiowa firing Hydra 70 rocket
Photo: Croatian defense ministry

The Croatian Air Force recently held live-fire drills with its OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters during which it used the Orbiter 3B unmanned aerial system (UAS) in such a training scenario for the first time.

Pilots from the 393rd Helicopter Squadron of the 93rd Wing of the Croatian Air Force (HRZ) honed their missile-firing skills in day and night conditions at the Eugen Kvaternik range between September 1 and 5.

The Kiowas used the training to launch Hydra 70 rockets, a Hellfire training missiles, in addition to employing the M3P machine gun against ground targets.

The Orbiter 3B UAS from the country’s intelligence regiment supported the training by providing a live broadcast of the evolutions. The training was also an opportunity to test the integration of the imagery intelligence (IMINT) and Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) capabilities of the OH-58D helicopter and the Orbiter 3B.

The defense ministry noted that the exercise was a step forward in the Croatian Armed Forces’ integration of sensor systems from different platforms that strengthen interoperability and increase the overall combat capabilities of the armed forces.

Built by Israel’s Aeronautics, the Orbiter 3 is a small tactical UAS (STUAS) suited for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions with long endurance. This system can carry payloads up to 5 kg in weight, including multi-sensor stabilized EO payloads carrying laser target-designation systems.

Croatia received the Orbiter 3 UAS in 2019.

Orbiter 3B being prepared for takeoff. Photo: Croatian defense ministry