Russian S-70 Okhotnik UAV has fired air-to-surface missiles

MOSCOW ($1=60.78 Russian Rubles) — Russia’s S-70 Okhotnik stealth drone fired a series of air-to-surface missiles at stationary ground targets. This is claimed by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, quoted by 19fortyfive.com. There is no information that this happened in Ukraine. At the moment, neither Russian nor Western sources claim such a thing. However, it is assumed that the firing tests were carried out at a range near the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Russia begins stealth S-70 Okhotnik production with flat jet nozzle
Photo credit: YouTube

The S-70 Okhotnik is one of the most valuable military developments in the Russian defense industry. To date, two working prototypes have been developed. Serial production has not yet started. The war in Ukraine and the imposed economic sanctions against Russia could seriously alter Russian production plans.

Russian sources claim that the missiles fired were the same as part of the armament of the Su-57 Felon. This means that the S-70 Okhotnik fired several Kh-38M and Kh-59MK2 missiles. The Kh-38M is a Russian air-to-surface missile powered by a two-stage solid rocket motor and has an operational range of 40 km. The Kh-59MK2 is a TV-guided cruise missile powered by a single turbojet/turbofan engine with an operational maximum range of up to 290 km.

Is the S-70 Okhotnik stealth?

Russia claims that the Russian S-70 drone is stealthy. Opinions vary, with some experts suggesting that it may have been intended that way, but it will never be stealthy. The reasons for such claims are not a lack of technology, but some of the drone’s features that can interfere with its stealth.

For example, the exhaust system and data collection capabilities can interfere with the drone’s stealth elements. I.e. according to analysts at 19fortyfive.com, the Russian drone looks more like a “power plant” than a combat stealth weapon.

Russia plans to start serial production in two years – in 2024. The first flight of the S-70 Okhotnik was registered in 2019.

S-70 Okhotnik in Ukraine

The probability of this drone appearing in the air over Ukraine at this stage is minimal. As we wrote above, there are only two working prototypes. However, the drone may be tested in the future by firing missiles at Ukrainian targets from a distance. I.e. to use the so-called beyond-visual-range missile. Of the two previously tested air-to-surface missiles, it is the Kh-59MK2 with its operational range of 290 km that is.

The Combination of UAV S-70 and Su-57 Turns the Latter Into a Fighter of the 5 + Gen
Photo credit: YouTube

However, Russia needs drones in Ukraine. Both belligerents are using their drones to target ground artillery more precisely. Information about drone losses is very fuzzy. British intelligence claims, citing Ukrainian intelligence, that Moscow has lost around 800 drones so far. This information has not been verified.

Losses of Russian drones in Ukraine, however, are evident after Russia began placing orders for Iranian attack drones. However, the S-70 Okhotnik will most likely remain in the hangars of the Russian Air Force bases or continue to be tested in the skies of the military training grounds.

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