It has been revealed by the Russian Defence Ministry that the stealthy new Su-70 Okhotnik-B heavy combat drone has taken flight for the first time.
Reports say that the flight lasted for 20 minutes and occurred at a military air-field over the weekend. The ministry said,
“The aerial vehicle flown by the operator made several circles around the airfield at an altitude of 600 meters and then successfully landed.”
Though it is unclear where the testing occurred the plans for the aircraft’s maiden flight were announced in May by the Russian state media stating that it would occur in July or August. The first flight would take place at the Novosibirsk Aircraft Plant, it was revealed by a source from the aircraft manufacturing industry.
As per the Russian state media, the drone is a product from Sukhoi Design Bureau and has flying wing shape which is quite large but it has a low radar signature. From reports
“The drone is equipped with equipment for optical-electronic, radio engineering and other types of reconnaissance activities.”
There are some doubts regarding the drone’s capabilities as mentioned by the observers. The flying wing shape offers some advantages but on the other hand, the exposed engine nozzle makes the aircraft detectable from behind. Reports say that Russia lags in stealth technology, including the coated materials designed to reduce radar returns from aircraft.
In January, the first pictures of the Okhotnik, also known as ‘Hunter’, surfaced online showcasing the unmanned combat aerial vehicle being towed, as suspected by The War Zone was Sukhoi’s Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Plant.
According to The National Interest reports, the observers commented after viewing the first photos that emerged online that the Okhotnik has a wingspan of about 50 feet, which makes it as large as China’s Tian Ying drone or America’s experimental X-47B drone.
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