Russia's Large Stealth Attack Drone, Okhotnik, Set to Enter Mass Production

S-70 is designated as the Su-57 Felon fifth-generation fighter's 'loyal wingman'
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  • 09:29 AM, January 26, 2024
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Russia's Large Stealth Attack Drone, Okhotnik, Set to Enter Mass Production
Okhotnik stealth drone

Vice-Governor Sergei Semka announced today that the Novosibirsk Aviation Plant, a subsidiary of Rostec's Sukhoi Company, is gearing up to initiate serial production of the heavy unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) "Okhotnik" in the latter half of 2024.

The Sukhoi Company has been diligently developing Russia's inaugural heavy strike drone, the S-70 Okhotnik, since 2011. The project reached a milestone with the first experimental prototype taking flight on August 3, 2019, followed by a subsequent model featuring a flat jet nozzle designed to reduce the radar signature, emerging from the Novosibirsk aircraft plant in December 2021.

Serial production will focus on the heavy reconnaissance and attack UAV, designated as the S-70 "Okhotnik-B." Multiple prototypes are currently in the final stages of comprehensive testing, with a particular emphasis on optimizing the software of the weapons control system. The production models are expected to feature a narrow-section nozzle, aiming to achieve a 2-2.5-fold reduction in the infrared signature and a marginal decrease in the effective reflective surface in the UAV's rear hemisphere.

All S-70 vehicles are slated to be equipped with terminals for tactical information exchange and telecode information via secure radio communication channels of the KDL-I type (0.96 - 1.25 GHz). This technology is designed to enable the operation of the UAVs under the control of Su-30SM2 and Su-57 crews. The communication channel's range is projected to be between 350 and 450 km, allowing these multi-role fighter crews to deploy the S-70 as "unmanned wingmen" without the necessity for manned vehicles to enter the enemy's anti-aircraft anti-access and A2/AD maneuver zones.

The S-70 Okhotnik, with a fuselage length of 14 meters and a wingspan of 19 meters comparable to the MiG-29, has a take-off weight of up to 25 tons, including a combat load of up to 3 tons.

While the composition of the 3-ton combat load remains uncertain, initial project surveys suggested a wide range of guided air weapons, from anti-aircraft missiles to tactical aviation cruise missiles. The aircraft reportedly has internal weapons bays similar to those of the Su-57 fighter, enabling the use of beyond-visual-range weaponry, including R-77M air-to-air missiles and Kh-59MK2 air-to-surface missiles capable of evading radar detection. However, by late 2020, Russia communicated plans to use Okhotnik for deploying unguided aerial bombs.

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