Shark UAS was developed by Ukrspecsystems. Credit: Azerelia/Wikimedia Commons.
The Shark UAS has a flight range of 300km. Credit: Defence Intelligence of Ukraine.
The Shark UAV can be operated in temperatures ranging between -15°C and +45°С. Credit: Defence Intelligence of Ukraine.

The Shark unmanned aerial system (UAS) was developed by Ukrspecsystems, a combat drone manufacturer based in Ukraine.

The Shark UAS can be deployed for both military and civilian applications. It is ideal for border control and difficult-to-reach areas, surveillance, and research and rescue operations.

The new reconnaissance drone was introduced by Ukrspecsystems in October 2022.

Shark-M, the military version of the Shark UAS, is in service with the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

In June 2023, defence equipment belonging to their Russian armed forces opponents and worth $40m was destroyed with the aid of the Shark UAS during the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

Shark UAS design and features

The turnkey Shark UAS package includes the Shark unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), ground control station (GCS), launcher, spare parts, tools and equipment.

The UAS can be assembled by two men within 30 minutes.

The Shark UAV has a length of 1.65m, a height of 0.3m, a wingspan of 3.4m and a maximum take-off weight of 12.5kg. It can operate in temperatures ranging between -15°C and 45°С, either in manual or automatic mode.

The UAV can locate enemy radar stations or air defence systems. It can fly to the enemy’s rear up to a distance of 60km and conduct surveillance up to 5km from the target object.

The drone uses global positioning system (GPS) technology and three other modes of navigation. It automatically returns home in case of a communication breakdown.

Payload details

The drone is equipped with the USG-231 electro-optical camera system. The lightweight gyro and digitally stabilised gimbal enable clear images from more than 1,000m with a full HD day-view camera.

The camera provides 30x optical zoom, 3x digital zoom and an anti-fog feature, which enables continuous operation even in high humidity or when there is a temperature difference between the camera lens and the surrounding environment.

The UAS can perform target tracking, capture real-time images and record onboard video.

Ground control system

The Shark UAV can be operated from a portable and robust GCS, which can be assembled within 15 minutes.

The key elements of the GCS include a UAV operator control station with a laptop installed with relevant software, a power generator, a catapult launcher, a tracking antenna and an automatic 5m mast. The system can be used either as a stand-alone product or readily integrated into a vehicle.

The GCS includes main and backup communication channels for redundancy and provides an encrypted main datalink for real-time full HD video and telemetry with a range of 80km.

The system is installed with a built-in video camera to control the UAV in a nearby range and comes with a battery backup for two hours.

The advanced software of the GCS enables to switching of the control of the UAV between different GCSs to extend the mission’s range during the flight. The communication range can be enhanced by using one UAV as a signal relay for another. The operators, different GCS, headquarters, field troops and remote video terminals can simultaneously have access to essential content and real-time video.

Shark UAV take-off and landing

The Shark UAV can be launched using the fully automated Bungee SCL-1A UAV launching system. The SCL-1A launches the UAV at an angle of 12° relative to the ground with a maximum traction force of 400kgf.

The launching system has a maximum launch speed of 25m/s. It features intelligent control and a single button to pump.

A parachute system is used to ensure a safe landing, easy deployment and quick repack.

Shark UAV control software

The Shark UAV Control Centre is an advanced software system designed to control and manage the UAS. It features an intuitive interface that is user-friendly for operators.

The software allows autonomous mission planning and integrates fail-safe protocols to prevent the drone from malfunctioning or crashing in the event of an emergency.

The UAS is guided along a pre-programmed flight path through a series of waypoints on its way to the target. The software also supports modifications to the flight path during the flight.

Other key features provided by the control centre include emergency landing, data streaming in real-time, target identification and analysis, and a live map.

Electronic protection measures

The Shark-M UAS is equipped with advanced electronic protection measures to be able to withstand electronic warfare attacks.

It can complete the mission even if the enemy tries to jam or interfere with its communication systems.

The advanced electronic protection system provides a critical edge to the forces in the battleground, while also ensuring the safety of important data.

Engine and performance

The Shark UAV is equipped with an electric motor, which powers it to a maximum speed of 130km/h and a cruising speed of 75km/h.

The UAS provides an endurance period of up to four hours and has a service ceiling of 3,000m. It provides a maximum flight range of 300km and reaches a maximum operating altitude of 1,000m.

Orders and deliveries

The Come Back Alive Foundation, a charity providing military assistance for the Ukrainian army, and the gas station network OKKO launched the Eye for an Eye project to raise funds to purchase domestic reconnaissance drones in November 2022.

The plan is to procure 25 Shark systems from Ukrspecsystems. The package will include 75 UAVs, including 50 main UAVs and 25 additional units, which will be in operational reserve to replace the ones lost in combat.

Each of the 25 Shark complexes will include two UAVs, a ground station with a control point integrated into a Torsus vehicle from Pulsar Expo, and a catapult launcher.

The first Shark complex under the Eye for an Eye project was transferred to one of the artillery brigades of the Armed Forces of Ukraine by the Come Back Alive Foundation in March 2023.

The Markus Foundation transferred 47 Shark UAVs to the Magura Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in May 2023.

The Lviv IT cluster procured the Shark UAV in May 2023 as a part of the Victory Projects initiative, which aims to protect businesses, military and civil infrastructure.

The Come Back Alive Foundation transferred two Shark complexes to the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine as part of the Eye for an Eye project in June 2023.

Three more Shark reconnaissance complexes were delivered to the Ukrainian military in June 2023.