The Russian TASS News agency reported on Friday, November 23rd, that high-speed ground taxi trials of the Okhotnik UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) were carried out successfully. These ground-only trials are part of the step-by-step process of getting this newest piece of Russian hi-tech military hardware into operation. TASS continues:
Russia’s new heavy unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Okhotnik, performed its first ground run on the runway of the aviation plant in Novosibirsk earlier this month, a Russian aircraft industry source has told TASS.
“The trial model of the Okhotnik UAV made its first run on the runway of the Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Plant, gathering the speed of 200 kmph in line with the program of trials. The takeoff was not performed,” the source said. “Okhotnik performed taxi, ground run, acceleration and stoppage at the end of the runway in fully automated mode.”
The attack drone will perform a series of ground runs by the end of the year, the source said.
The next stage of trials will include so-called jumps – the aircraft will briefly take off and land almost immediately. Once those trials are over, the drone will make its maiden flight.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have become the latest entry in highly technology based weaponry that offer the chance to strike at remote targets without risking loss of personnel. The stealthy radar signature of this drone offers additional surety that it will also survive and evade any defensive measures that might otherwise be deployed against it.
The Okhotnik design is also said to be the prototype for Russia’s 6th-generation fighter plane program. TASS covered this in another piece, saying:
Russia’s newest Okhotnik attack drone will become a prototype of the country’s sixth generation fighter jet, a defense industry source has told TASS.
According to the official, although the sixth generation fighter jet project “has not yet taken full shape, its main features are already known.”
“First of all, it should be unmanned and capable of performing any combat task in an autonomous regime. In this sense, Okhotnik will become the prototype of the sixth generation fighter jet,’ the source said, adding that the drone will be able to “take off, fulfill its objectives and return to the airfield.”