Russia begins stealth S-70 Okhotnik production with flat jet nozzle

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MOSCOW ($1=53.91 Russian Rubles) — Sergei Chemezov, chief executive of Russia’s state-owned Rostech, said that after he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, mass production of the Okhotnik [Hunter] drone would begin by 2023. Chemezov said in a statement: “We will take the Okhotnik system, whose first flight tests they started in 2021, from the mass production line in 2023 and we will deliver it to the Ministry of Defense,” Chemezov was quoted as saying in Russian media.

Photo credit: Tde Drive / YouTube

Chemezov also said that Okhotnik’s standard flat-nozzle propulsion system, low radar visibility [stealth], and the ground management system specifically designed for the Hunter set the UCAV apart from its competitors.

S-70 Okhotnik unmanned combat aerial vehicle

Developed by Sukhoi’s design bureau, the S-70 Okhotnik features radar reduction technology and a flying wing design. According to open sources, the UAV, which has a takeoff weight of 20 tons, can reach a speed of about 1000 km / h.

Okhotnik made his first flight on August 3, 2019. The flight took more than 20 minutes under the control of an operator. On September 27, 2019, Okhotnik flew with the fifth generation Su-57 fighter. The UAV maneuvered in the air in automatic mode at an altitude of about 1600 meters and its flight took more than 30 minutes.

Mass deliveries of drones Okhotnik of Russian troops are scheduled to begin in 2024. On August 9, 2020, the President of the United Aircraft Corporation [UAC] Yuri Slyusar announced to Russian President Vladimir Putin that supplies for mass production will begin in 2024.

Expectations

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.

Photo credit: YouTube

“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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