Russian Ministry of Defense is stopping development of a heavy strike UAV “Altair”, according to report by local media Vedomosti on October 8, 2018. The website quotes several sources from the Ministry and the defense industry.

The project was launched in 2011 and awarded to Simonov Experimental Design Bureau (OKB) based in Kazan, capital of Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. Not much was publicly disclosed about the drone, also known as the Altius-IF, except that it was supposed to reach up to 1000 kph (621 mph) and cover the same type of missions as the General Atomics Avenger. According to Vedomosti, more than 3 billion rubles (about $45 million) were invested into the program.

In 2017, while the unmanned aircraft was already being tested in flight, OKB Simonov allegedly suffered from resource deficit, becoming unable to continue the development. Tatarstan authorities asked the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade for an additional 2 billion rubles to develop a civil arctic version of the UAV. In April 2018, the head of OKB Simonov, Alexander Gomzin, was arrested and charged with misappropriation of state funds. He was suspected of embezzling 900 million rubles that were allocated to the project. He was released in June of the same year.

While the program is being dropped by OKB, Vedomosti source says the order could be handed over to the Ural Civil Aviation Plant (UZGA), which currently manufactures a Russian version of the Israeli Searcher drone called “Forpost”.