The Russian Federation watched with great interest as the United States began building unmanned aerial vehicles in the 1990's. At first they were deemed too primitive, and little effort was made to acquire one. When the RQ-1 Predator came online, Russian intelligence was ordered to use any means possible to acquire a sample. This proved relatively easy for the highly skilled Russian GRU. The sample aircraft was given to the Yakovlev Design Bureau to reverse engineer, but ultimately it was the Tupolev Bureau, using modified plans from Yakovlev that was chosen to design Russia's unmanned aerial vehicle fleet. Their first aircraft, the Tu-1ATC was actually a Yak-1T painted in Tupolev livery. Tupolev quickly saw the potential of UAV's to carry weapons and designed into their Tu-2ATC the ability to carry a sizable amount of ordnance. The Tu-2 was not perfect and suffered a great deal of mechanical problems in addition to being underpowered and having relatively low fuel capacity. Those issues were fixed, and Tupolev rolled out the Tu-3. The Tu-3 was a successful aircraft, and the Russian Spetsnaz Guards adopted it readily. Once in the field, soldiers described it as hovering over the battlefield "как гриф" (like a vulture) which Tupolev adopted as the plane's name. The current version is actually the Tu-3 MkIII, which has a quieter engine and improved sensors over the MkI and II.
- Crew: 0
- Max Speed: classified (est.200Kph)
- Range: (est) 60Km (37mi)
- Ceiling: classified (est. 2500m)
- Note: The Tu-3 is launched off a rail with rocket boosters and recovered via parachute.
- In-game, the Tu-3 is unique in that it is clearly a fixed-wing catapult-launched non-VTOL drone, yet it also hovers over a target in one spot.