Development of the Pchela begun on 28th June 1982, as a decision of the corresponding ministry. Between the year 1982 and 1991, two different derivatives had been built. The first one was the 60C/1M, which was first flown in the middle of the 1980s, but it never reached operational status, the second was a further development of the first one, the 61/1T ( it entered operational status in the 1990s ).
The Pchela is use for battlefield reconnaissance, surveillance and observation, it is equipped with a camera to transfer information to the ground station. It is launched using rocket assist solid-propellant booster rocket engines, for landing it recovers using a parachute. The whole system, including the Pchela and other ground vehicles is called Stroi-P complex. For export market, a modified sytem called Malachit ( Shmel-1 is the name of the modified drone ) is sold. The aircraft is built of composite materials and operates at ceilings of 100 to 3000 m. The Pchela can absolve it´s missions autonomous using waypoints or it can be radio controlled.