Russia’s defense chiefs have unveiled a new stealth combat drone that they say can fly back and forth in a single mission from Moscow to London. A propaganda video from the Kremlin demonstrates the 20-minute flight of the Sukhoi-made Okhotnik, meaning Hunter.
The Russian army argues that a unique coating makes the unmanned flying car’ nearly undetectable.’ The fresh gadget is like a U.S. gadget. Lockheed Martin’s Air Force drone that was launched as long ago as 2007. It is, however, deemed a breakthrough in Russia compared to earlier developed unmanned aerial vehicles by Moscow.
The Okhotnik flew just under 2,000 ft from the surface on an airfield near Moscow on his maiden flight. It has the ability to fire unspecified missiles at a distance of 1,250 miles, but it is claimed that it will also be deployed on aerial recognition missions.
The drone is fitted with electro-optical spying, radar and other recognition kinds. Pilots will be able to control it in the sky from a Su-57 warplane once it is in complete service with the Russian Air Force, Moscow claims. But it will also be controlled from the floor and its developers have boasted by using their own ‘brain.’
‘The possibility is also envisaged for the drone’s completely autonomous flight without the operator’s participation when it takes off, performs its programme and lands only under the control of its own guidance system,’ said a Sukhoi source.
The wedge-shaped drone has been under secret development for at least eight years. Despite a takeoff weight of 20 tonnes, it is reported to be ‘practically invisible to radars’ and has a range of up to 3,100 miles with a speed of 625 mph. The range is far enough to take it from Russia to Britain and Western Europe and back on a single trip.
In May, Russian Deputy Minister of Defense Alexey Krivoruchko said the’ Okhotnik’ was a priority for the Russian army. Since the Soviet era, the manufacturer of the drone, Sukhoi, has been constructing military aircraft. The fresh gadget is visually similar to the Lockheed Martin U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel that has been in operation since 2007.
The Sentinel was used to spy on the secret compound of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan before the U.S. armies shot dead al-Qaeda leader in 2011. Iran announced later that year that it had captured one of the drones and more recently claimed to have built a replica.