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Russia’s latest stealth attack drone to perform several test flights in 2019

Russia’s top brass posted a video of the drone’s debut flight

MOSCOW, August 7. /TASS/. Russia’s heavy stealth attack drone Okhotnik (Hunter) developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau (part of the United Aircraft Corporation) will perform several more test flights this year, a source in the domestic defense industry told TASS on Wednesday.

"The program of the Okhotnik’s flight tests stipulates several more flights with the sequential complication of flight assignments," the source said.

The drone will perform one of its flights in a partially autonomous mode: an operator on the ground will give only several commands, the source stated. "A possibility is also envisaged for the drone’s completely autonomous flight without the operator’s participation when it takes off, performs its program and lands only under the control of its own guidance system."

The United Aircraft Corporation declined to comment for TASS on the information provided by the source.

As Russia’s Defense Ministry reported earlier, the Okhotnik made its first full-fledged flight on August 3. The unmanned aerial vehicle stayed in the air for over 20 minutes. The drone followed the commands of an operator on the ground and made several flyovers of the aerodrome at an altitude of about 600m. 

Russia’s Defense Ministry uploaded a video of the drone's debut flight to its YouTube page. The video shows the Okhotnik taxiing along the military aerodrome’s runway, taking off and maneuvering with its non-retracted landing gear and subsequently making a landing in the normal regime. The drone is coated with the grey camouflage paint.

As another source in the defense industry told TASS, before that the drone already made several take-offs, jumping several meters above the runway and landing immediately after that. The drone performed a whole series of such tests but they are not viewed as a full-fledged flight, the source specified.

Okhotnik heavy strike drone

The Okhotnik features stealth technology and the flying wing design (it lacks the tail) and has a take-off weight of 20 tonnes. The drone has a jet engine and is capable of developing a speed of around 1,000 km/h.

According to Russia’s Defense Ministry, the drone has anti-radar coating and is outfitted with equipment for electro-optical, radar and other types of reconnaissance.

The remote-controlled Okhotnik model was unveiled at the Army 2019 international defense exhibition outside Moscow in late June.