The Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik (‘Hunter’) attack drone has seemingly returned to its initial production schedule, with production expected to commence in the second half of 2024.
The information was shared on January 25, 2024, by Sergei Semka, the vice governor of the Novosibirsk region where production will take place.
“The final stage of testing [is underway],” Semka stated during a press briefing. “I think the second half of the year will see the start of production.”
In August 2020, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation had urged the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) to expedite the experimental design work and adjust the schedule to achieve an earlier delivery, with hopes of acquiring the drone as early as 2023. However, the program seems to have returned to its original timeline, and commissioning is no longer anticipated before 2025.
What is the S-70 Okhotnik attack drone?
Powered by an AL-31 turbojet engine, the S-70 Okhotnik is expected to achieve speeds of up to 1,000 kilometers per hour, covering a range of 6,000 km. The Russian Defense Ministry has highlighted its advanced features, including electro-optical targeting, radio, and various reconnaissance equipment. The drone’s two internal bays can carry up to 2.8 tons of weaponry.
It is anticipated that the S-70 Okhotnik will operate collaboratively with the Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet, extending the latter’s radar field. The drone’s stealth capabilities will enable it to designate long-range targets for the leading aircraft without being easily detected.
The first flight model of the Okhotnik drone was unveiled at the Novosibirsk Aviation Plant (NAZ) on December 14, 2021. This was the first occasion on which the drone was equipped with a flat jet nozzle designed to reduce its radar signature, enhancing its stealth capabilities.
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