Aerospace Forces of Russia will receive a “flock” of unmanned fighters. In the next two years, three more heavy UAVs S-70 “Okhotnik” will be built, sources in the military-industrial complex and the military department told Izvestia. They will join the test program for the only prototype currently available. The Ministry of Defense has decided on the format for using the latest drone. The vehicle will have serious impact capabilities, making it truly multipurpose, experts say. For example, as a fighter, the device will be capable of hitting targets from a long distance, the sources added.
At present, the plan and schedule of work on the new S-70 drone have already been approved, sources in the military-industrial complex told Izvestia. According to the appendix, which the publication managed to get acquainted with, in the last quarter of this year, the assembly plant should receive a set of parts made of polymer composite materials for the drone’s airframe. In the first half of 2021, there will be two more sets. The cost of one is 286 million rubles.
There were “Hunters”
Model of the unmanned aerial vehicle S-70 “Okhotnik” at the International Aviation and Space Salon – 2019
Photo: RIA Novosti / Evgeny Biyatov
“Hunter” for a billion: the price of the most powerful drone in Russia has become known The cost of attack drones is approaching the prices for modern manned fighters
Three new cars will be built under a new government contract. The Ministry of Defense signed it with the Sukhoi company in the last days of last year after the successful completion of research work on the Hunter theme, sources in the military-industrial complex told Izvestia.
It is also expected that these three UAVs will differ from the prototype in appearance. They have been modified to reduce radar signature, sources added. One of the vehicles will remain on the ground. It is used for life tests. The other two will become flight specimens.
Initially, it was planned to complete the development work by the end of 2025, and tests in the shock version with various weapons were to take place in 2023-2024. But in early August, at a meeting with Vladimir Putin, the head of the United Aircraft Corporation UAC, Yuri Slyusar, said that the military department had asked to speed up the process as much as possible in order to start delivering the latest technology to the troops in 2024.
There were “Hunters”
Photo: Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation / mil.ru
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As Izvestia previously reported, in the summer, Sukhoi insured the S-70 prototype for 1.3 billion rubles. Separately, the ground control point was estimated at 145 million rubles. It is planned that after the start of serial production of the drone, the amount will be reduced to about 1 billion.
– The prototype S-70 has already worked intensively on tests in tandem with the Su-57, – said military expert Vladislav Shurygin. – The dimensions, as well as the engine power, allow you to install a full-fledged radar and an optical-location station on it. But the heavy drone is unlikely to become a “clean” fighter. All modern aircraft of this class have long been transformed into multipurpose vehicles that can destroy air, sea and land targets.
The carrying capacity of the Hunter allows it to carry not only a variety of long-range air-to-air weapons, but also heavy bombs and cruise missiles to attack ground targets. By its design, this machine was originally created for action in conditions of high-intensity conflicts, for breaking through powerful air defense and strikes against strategic targets, the expert recalled.
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Road to sky
The S-70 Okhotnik is the largest unmanned aerial vehicle developed in Russia. The 20-ton aircraft is made according to the “flying wing” scheme with extensive use of polymer composite materials to facilitate the design and reduce the visibility of radars.
The carrying capacity of the S-70 reaches 6 tons, and its radar visibility is even lower than that of the Russian fifth-generation Su-57 fighter. Now UAVs of this class are being developed only in the USA and China.
Research work on the “Hunter” was initiated in 2011. The Sukhoi company became the main executor of the project. The development of the apparatus was carried out in an atmosphere of strict secrecy. Even his appearance was not known. The prototype of the “Hunter” was openly demonstrated only in 2018, and its first flight took place on August 2, 2019. A month later, the Ministry of Defense announced the beginning of joint sorties of the S-70 and the manned Su-57. At the same time, the UAV with its sensors expanded the fighter’s radar field of view and carried out target designation for its long-range aircraft weapons.
There were “Hunters”
Multifunctional fighter of the fifth generation Su-57
Photo: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev
It is planned that in the future the drone will be able to operate not only under human control, but also completely autonomously using elements of artificial intelligence. The device will have a satellite communication channel with the ground, which will make its range limited only by the fuel supply. It has not yet been reported whether it has the ability to refuel in flight, like modern manned aircraft.
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A new version of the AL-41F1 fighter engine – Product 117BD – has been specially developed for equipping the S-70 by the UEC – Ufa Engine-Building Production Association. It will provide the car with a speed close to the speed of sound. In 2019, a model of the unmanned “Hunter” was presented with a flat engine nozzle instead of the usual round one. According to calculations, such a design should reduce the visibility of the jet drone.
In addition to the S-70, two more large shock UAVs are being developed in our country. The lightest of them, Orion, weighing 1 ton, has already been put into service and tested in Syria. In the spring of this year, the military department received a set of three serial drones. The larger Altius, weighing 7 tons, is capable of carrying heavy guided bombs and is currently in the testing phase.
Currently, the Russian Armed Forces have more than 2 thousand unmanned aircraft systems at their disposal. Most of them are designed for reconnaissance missions and belong to the light class. Their take-off weight does not exceed 18 kg.