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Russian combat drone Okhotnik appears on the internet

Stealth-capable unmanned aircraft is one of Russia’s top military projects

An image of the Russian unmanned aerial combat vehicle Okhotnik (hunter) developed this week appeared on the country’s main social network, the VK. Officially named URBK, the Russian acronym for “Unmanned Attack and Reconnaissance System”, the aircraft is a project by manufacturer Sukhoi started in mid-2012 at the request of the Russian Ministry of Defense.

O design da aeronave flagrada na Rússia lembra o de projetos dos EUA (Reprodução)
Russian-caught aircraft design resembles US designs (Reproduction)

In the photo taken in the distance and between trees, the military drone reveals its flying wing shape on a snow-covered taxiway. Media in the United States, however, suspects the image was deliberately “leaked” as the Russians plan to fly with the device later this year.

The design of the Okhotnik is similar to that of high performance unmanned aircraft developed and tested in the US such as Northrop Grumman’s X-47B and Boeing’s Phantom Ray X-45C, as well as the British BAE Raven and Dassault nEUROn designed in France. . In addition to the remote controls, this new class of military aircraft also stands out for its ability to carry out sneak attacks, as they are designed not to be detected by radar.

In November 2018, an unidentified Russian defense ministry source told Russia’s TASS news agency that the Ohkotnik prototype completed the first ground tests, including the take-off run, at the Russian Aircraft Production Association unit. Novosibirsk, which supports the Sukhoi project. The undisclosed individual also said the unmanned aircraft accelerated down the runway and slowed to a “fully automated mode.”

An earlier image supposedly of the Russian drone appeared in 2017 as part of an official slide of the Russian Ministry of Defense. The much lower quality photo showed a flying wing design similar to that of the newly caught model.

O formato de asa voadora dificulta que a aeronave seja detectada por radares (Reprodução)
Flying wing shape makes it difficult for aircraft to be detected by radar (Playback)

Possible evidence about the Ohkotnik came from another Russian plane, a Su-57 fighter. The aircraft was photographed using unique markings showing the shape of an unmanned aerial vehicle flying next to the figure of an Su-57 with lightning in between. The military jet in question still has an extra antenna in the fuselage, perhaps used to connect to the drone.

Alongside the Sukhoi project, another Russian company, MiG, is also working on its own stealthy unmanned military air vehicle, known as Skat, whose current situation is unclear. According to a report by The Driver, there are unconfirmed reports that this project may have helped in the development of Ohkotnik. Both manufacturers are both subsidiaries of the Russian government-controlled United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) group.

Source: [Airway – Uol]

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