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On August 3, the first flight of the new Russian heavy combat drones Sukhoi S-70 was Okhotnik (also known as Hunter B) instead. The Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) was jointly developed by Sukhoi and Mig since 2011th Beginning in 2019 appeared on the Internet on the first photos of the attack drone, until then, the program has been a well kept secret. This Nurflüglerdrohne should weigh around 20 tonnes and have stealth characteristics.

Video of the first flight of Okhotnik on August 3, 2019 (Video: Russian Ministry of Defense)

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, which were communicated to the public in the course of the first flight, the S-70 will consist of composite materials and a radar-absorbing coating; together with the flying wing design, it produces the stealth characteristics. The first flight of Okhotnik took place at a height of 600 meters and lasted a total of 20 minutes. The Russian Ministry of Defense announced further that the novel flying wing with intelligence (electro-optical, radar-based and otherwise) may be equipped.

Technical discussions to actual performance parameters

Already published early in 2019 images of the drone led to lively discussions about the actual performance of the S 70th As Anrieb is (probably Saturn AL-31F turbofan) accepted the images according to a jet engine. suggest based performed by image analysis size comparisons that the wingspan of the S-70 about 20 m.

It is further speculated about the existence of two internal weapons bays that can carry up to 2,000 kg of guided and unguided effectors are. In addition to the stealth technology, they also should have skills of electronic warfare (EW). This suggests that they should also, or especially in the area of ​​the fight against the enemy's air defense are used. The protruding afterburner engine in combination with the linearly arranged air intake in the front trigger doubts about the actual severity of the stealth capability of the Okhotnik some experts. These conflicting design elements (classic engine design / layout and Nurflüglerkonzept made of composite materials) suggest that this could be the S-70 on an experimental support for specific technologies.

Territory for the Russian Air Force

So far, no other Russian drone is known that can be provided with an armament. The Suchoi S-70 Okhotnik would be the first, of which the West obtains knowledge. In the state arms program 2018-2027, however, substantial funds for procurement of UCAV be scheduled by the Russian government.

Since mid-January has been observed that a Leitwerklakierung adorns the third prototype of the Su-57, this shows the SU-57 in combination with the Okhotnik. (Photo: UK)

According to Russian doctrine in the future (unarmed) reconnaissance drones to be used in conjunction with armed drones and manned combat aircraft in the swarm. The connection is provided by secure data links. This would be analogous to the German-French FCAS approach. For example, on the third prototype of the fighter plane Su-57, a tail paint to realize that the Su-57 is in conjunction with a Nurflüglerdrohne.

André Forkert