UAC has patented an air-launched attack drone from the Su-57

In a thrilling progression in military technology, the United Aircraft Corporation [UAC] has achieved a patent for an air-launched assault drone. The drone can be launched from a Su-57 fighter jet. This patent’s appearance in the public domain was reported on March 27 by the Russian news outlet, Mashnews, after they found the document on Rospatent, Russia’s patent registry. 

UAC has patented an air-launched attack drone from the Su-57
Photo credit: Rospatent

The revolutionary drone is designed to destroy a wide range of both static and operational reconnaissance objects. Furthermore, its ability to automatically recognize its target type and decide whether to initiate an attack uniquely sets it apart. 

A closer look at the patent documents reveals the drone’s impressive autonomy. It can operate in an automatic mode where it independently locates and engages targets. Alternatively, it can work in an information-transmitting mode, where it broadcasts information about located targets and awaits attack instructions from a movable ground control station. It also has the capability to receive target hit confirmations from the pilot operator aboard the aircraft from which it was launched. This truly is a game-changer in the world of modern warfare!

Su-57 Felon entered Ukraine and flew in the Luhansk airspace
Photo by Andrei Shmatko

The Su-57 will be the carrier

Based on available data, it has been determined that Russia’s sophisticated Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation combat aircraft will be armed with a kamikaze attack drone. There is also potential consideration for incorporating this drone into the arsenals of other Russian aircraft. 

This attack drone is equipped with a modular warhead, the nature of which depends on the specific target. It can be either high-explosive or a combination of high-explosive and cumulative. Essential equipment includes an array of visual and navigational aids, a data transmission system, and an onboard search and guidance system. This system taps into the power of trained neural networks to effectively accomplish combat tasks. 

Vympel R-77 missiles disrupt the stealth of the Russian Su-57
Photo by Artyom Anikeev

There have been numerous reports suggesting a work-in-progress concept of integrating combat drones with the Su-57 fighter. There are also discussions about adding drones to the weaponry of modern Russian aircraft.

The drone remains unidentified

While the specific technology driving the United Aircraft Corporation drone remains undisclosed, there’s an undeniable parallel between the advancements seen in Lancet drones and Izdeliye 305 light multi-purpose guided missiles. 

In regards to the former, it’s important to note that the neural networks responsible for identifying and eliminating targets are being meticulously tested. Conversely, the latter is experimenting with image transmission and the regulation of missiles by pilot operators of Russian assault helicopters.

Drone hunting system

Since 2022, Russia has actively engaged in the development of technology that enables the launch of drones from bombers and fighters. Some reports suggest that Russia has achieved the complex task of creating an aircraft docking mechanism. This mechanism allows unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs] to be captured, stored in the flight compartment in-flight, and released as well. This information came into the spotlight when the state media TASS announced that the United Aircraft Corporation [UAC] patented an aircraft docking system.  

The patent document reveals that this state-of-the-art invention pertains to the realm of aviation and is instrumental in constructing aircraft equipped with unmanned aerial vehicles. The crucial factor of this innovation is the system and method designed for the capture of a UAV in the aircraft’s cargo compartment, together with the associated docking equipment. 

Confirmed: Russia has included the Tu-160 bombers in the war
Photo credit: Reuters

This innovative system can be deployed across various types of aircraft, such as fighter jets, strategic bombers, and transport planes. The patent issued by the Federal Institute of Industrial Property outlines the usability and versatility of this system.

Not only Russia

There’s an unstoppable rise of unmanned aerial vehicles in global military arsenals. The tactical advantage of deploying droves of drones is something militaries across the globe, especially the US and China, are keenly exploring. In a recent development in November 2021, the US military executed an impressive in-flight launch and tow of an X-61 Gremlins drone from a C-130. 

US unveils X-61A drone of the Gremlins program (video)
Photo credit: Defpost

This groundbreaking move marks a pivotal development in the continual efforts of the US military to master the art of deploying drone swarms from airborne motherships. The successful launch of the Gremlins drone took place at the Utah-based Dugway Proving Ground on October 29th.


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