23 May 2019 10:58

Okhotnik attack drone practically ready - Russian deputy defense minister

MOSCOW. May 23 (Interfax) - The Okhotnik heavy attack drone will be ready soon, according to Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko.

"Okhotnik is a highly promising system; we are expecting the works to be finalized in the near future. Regretfully, that will take some time," Krivoruchko told the television channel Zvezda in an interview.

Forces have received hundreds of drones of other types, he added.

Okhotnik, a product of the Novosibirsk Aircraft Plant of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC)'s Sukhoi Company, was due to perform its inaugural flight in spring 2019.

Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said in February that the drone had been tested on the runway and "flights would follow shortly."

Photos of the new Russian drone were posted by an anonymous user of an online forum in January. They depicted a "flying wing" vehicle with a tripod undercarriage. Presumably, this is Sukhoi's heavy attack drone designed as a result of Project Okhotnik.

Earlier, social media posted photographs of an experimental Sukhoi Su-57 with the presumed Okhotnik's silhouette at its tail. A Su-57 with a new paint job is performing intensive flights in Zhukovsky.

Okhotnik's performance characteristics have not been disclosed. According to public sources, a takeoff mass of 20 tonnes will make it one of the heaviest drones under construction.

A source told Interfax that Okhotnik will be tasked to penetrate air defense together with the Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation fighter.