Sukhoi S-70 combat drone completes bombing test

Russian Ministry of Defense

The Russian Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik (“Hunter”) attack drone dropped bombs on a ground target during flight tests.

The S-70 reportedly destroyed a target on the ground during tests carried out above at the Ashuluk training ground, near the Caspian sea. “Unguided bombs of 500 kilograms were dropped from its internal hold,” an industry source told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti on January 12, 2020. The exact date on which the tests took place was not disclosed.

In early-December 2020, another source had revealed the agency that the Russian military evaluated the capacity of the Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik (“Hunter”) to operate as a fighter-interceptor. The flight tests included the use of both infrared and radar homing air-to-air missiles using functional simulators. The experiments assessed the capacity of the upcoming heavy attack drone to work in collaboration with the Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet.

Live test-firing of guided air-to-air missiles from the S-70’s internal bays on real air targets should take place during the second half of 2021.

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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