Russia unveiled a better S-70 UCAV with stealth nozzle configuration
MOSCOW, ($1=73.86 Russian Rubles) – On December 14, Russia showed its second prototype of the long-awaited stealth attack drone S-70 Okhotnik, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Russian and American sources. The presentation took place in front of local Russian television cameras at the Novosibirsk Aviation Production Association, or NAPO, where Sukhoi is building its drones.
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It is clear from the widespread footage that the Russians have made significant progress in the development of the S-70 Okhotnik compared to the first prototype produced. The new attacking stealth drone features a stealthier nozzle configuration and a redesigned engine exhaust system. It is unclear whether this is a new engine. It is known that the first prototype S-70 was powered by an AL-41F engine – the same one that powered the Russian multi-role fighter Su-35 Flanker, and the same engine was placed on the first mass-produced stealth fighter C-57 Felon.
Both the first prototype and this one show a clean design, such as various antennas and the removal of small air and exhaust vents. However, the new prototype shows an unusual pair of air intakes at the top of the main intake, the purpose of which is unclear, although it is not uncommon for a concealed aircraft to have such characteristics.
C-70 Okhotnik’s second prototype has not yet been painted in the usual “pixel” camouflage of the Russians, but it is noticeable that there is the processing of the wings, which involves the application of radio-absorbing material, according to the American publication The Drive.
The first prototype
BulgarianMilitary.com reminds you that the first prototype was created nearly two years ago and was presented at MAX 2019 – a Russian aviation exhibition on the outskirts of Moscow.
From then until today, it is said that the first prototype has conducted several tests, including combat tests using air-to-air missiles. The drone was said to have been outfitted with inert missiles, and it’s unclear if any live missile launches have taken place since.
Russia has high expectations for the S-70 Okhotnik. “The roll-out of the UAV marks the completion of the assembly of the product as a whole, equipping it with all the necessary onboard equipment by the requirements for the aircraft, and the transition to complex ground tests to prepare for the first flight,” Russian Deputy Minister of Defense Alexei Krivoruchko said.
According to Thomas Newdick and Tyler Rogoway, authors of an article in The Drive, the second prototype shows a leap of Russian engineers and technologists in the development of stealth technology. However, they remind that this is just a prototype and tests are yet to be performed both on the ground for the functioning of its systems and in the air.
Thomas Newdick and Tyler Rogoway pay particular attention to the upcoming aerial tests, as they believe the data collected from these experiments will give a clearer picture of the progress of the Russians, or whether it has been achieved at all.
“Technologies tested on the prototypes will be used in the creation of other promising aircraft systems – both manned and unmanned,” Krivoruchko added, perhaps hinting that the design and testing of the Okhotnik could inform very much-anticipated new strategic bomber, or PAK DA, which is similarly expected to be a flying-wing design. That is if it ever actually materializes.
Thomas Newdick and Tyler Rogoway say in their article that Russia has already gained experience and, according to them, the Russians expect the S-70 to have a very long flight time in the air and deliver a significant amount of combat cargo.
Okhotnik UCAV is now demonstratively on the way towards becoming a true low-observable combat aircraft. As such, it will likely break entirely new ground for the Russian military once it finally enters service, and it will very likely be offered for export, potentially bringing these advanced capabilities to other countries, too.
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