The Russian military conducted a series of interceptions with the heavy attack drone S-70 Okhotnik (“Hunter”), including simulated use of air-to-air missiles.

The flight tests carried out by the Russian military evaluated the capacity of the Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik (“Hunter”) to operate as a fighter-interceptor, according to an industry source quoted by RIA Novosti. The campaign took place at the Ashuluk training ground, near the Caspian sea. 

“From the strip of the military airfield of the Center for Combat Training and Combat Use of the Russian Aerospace Forces at the Ashuluk training ground, several flights of the Hunter were performed with functional simulators of guided air-to-air missiles," the source told the agency. 

The simulators were both infrared and radar homing missiles. The tests assessed the capacity of the upcoming heavy attack drone to work in collaboration with the Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet. Until now, flight tests had only focused on the flight performances of the aircraft. It is reportedly the first time that the combat ability of the aircraft is evaluated.

The Okhotnik UAV is powered by an AL-31 turbojet engine and is equipped with electro-optical targeting, radio, and “other types of reconnaissance equipment,” according to the Russian Defense Ministry. The demonstrator made its maiden flight on August 7, 2019.

The Sukhoi S-70 is much bigger than its Western counterparts. With 20 meters in wingspan and a length of 14 meters, its mass is supposedly around 20 tons (against 4.9 for the Dassault nEUROn and 6.3 for the Northrop Grumman X-47B). It is expected to fly at a speed of 1,000 km/h, for a range of 6,000 km. Its two internal bays should embark up to 2.8 tons of weapons.

The first Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik (“Hunter”) attack drone should be delivered to the Russian military in 2024 after the Ministry of Defense demanded to speed up the experimental work.

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The first Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik (“Hunter”) attack drone should be delivered to the Russian military in 2024 after the Ministry of Defense demanded to speed up the experimental work on the upcoming unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV).