Russia, sixth generation drone in flight within the year
Flight tests on the super heavy Russian drone Hunter (Охотник) will begin within the year. According to the state-run news agency TASS, the Sukhoi prototype will fly for the first time in the current year.
Based on the few details so far released, the Hunter is a low-observability drone of twenty tons developed since October 2011. The prototype should fly with a pair of Saturn AL-31 engines. If it goes into serial production, the Hunter should be equipped with the Su-57 Saturn Izdeliye 30 (without post burner), still in development. The estimated maximum speed of the Sukhoi's flying wing is one thousand km / h. According to TASS, the ground functional verification of the systems and subsystems on the Hunter-A aircraft took place in 2014. Flight tests will take place at the Chkalov Aviation Plant in Novosibirsk, in the south-west of Siberia.
The Hunter drone has been designed to impose aerial dominance in depth in contexts of the latest generation with high density and persistent reconnaissance. Moscow identifies the UAV as a sixth generation aircraft made of composite materials and absorbent radar coating. The Hunter drone would exploit the know-how acquired by the Russians with the Skat system and the Su-57. Its estimated autonomy is six thousand km with an internal payload of two tons.
The only photo of the Hunter drone was released on July 30th from paralay.iboards.ru. 1900 drones are in service with the Russian armed forces. In Syria alone, Russian drones flew 140,000 hours for 23,000 sorties.
In September 2016, Moscow admitted the existence of an experimental low observability drone based on an unconventional aerodynamic configuration. Designed by Irkut Corporation, it would present a geometric structural scheme containing unique and never used aerodynamic solutions. It was designed for reconnaissance and attack in A2 / AD environments. The Russian Ministry of Defense has invested copious funds in UAV technology for years. According to unconfirmed rumors, the gap with the Americans has now been bridged. A precedent occurred in memory in July 2016, when a drone of some kind violated one of the most protected airspace in the world: that of Israel. With some embarrassment the Israelis claimed that the drone had not been intercepted despite three missiles being fired at it. The drone came from Syria. It will never be identified.