Sukhoi on track to begin serial production of S-70 attack drone in 2023

Russian Ministry of Defense

Russia is on track to launch the serial production of the Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik (‘Hunter’) attack drone in 2023. 

In August 2020, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation told the UAC to “speed up the experimental design work and maximally adjust the schedule” to meet that deadline. The aircraft was initially planned to still be in the testing phase of its armament in 2024, with the delivery due to happen the following year. Now the Russian Defense Ministry could get its hands on the aircraft as early as 2023. 

“The first flying prototype was rolled out in 2021, and we will begin serial-producing and delivering it to the Defense Ministry in 2023,” Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov said during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “A new ground control post is being created for the drone.” 

The S-70 Okhotnik drone is powered by an AL-31 turbojet engine and is expected to fly at a speed of 1,000 km/h, for a range of 6,000 km. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, it is equipped with electro-optical targeting, radio, and “other types of reconnaissance equipment”. Its two internal bays can embark up to 2.8 tons of weapons.  

The S-70 is expected to eventually operate in collaboration with the Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet to extend the latter’s radar field. Its stealth abilities should allow it to designate long-range targets for its leader aircraft without being detected. To reduce its radar signature, the Okhotnik features a flat nozzle thruster. 

In January 2021, the S-70 reportedly destroyed a target on the ground during tests, using unguided 500 kilogram bombs dropped from its internal hold. 

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