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06:49 AM, August 26, 2019
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Russia's New Stealth Drone May Operate Together with Su-57 Jet

Russia's new stealth drone on display at the MAKS Airshow may operate either autonomous or in conjunction with the Su-57 stealth jet.

The Sukhoi S-70 Hunter-B (Okhotnik-B) unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) initially appeared in a flyable form back in January, with its first flight occurring in early August.

The drone is based on the earlier Mikoyan Skat stealth drone, and encompasses some technologies of the fifth-generation Su-57 fighter jet. The aircraft could act as a "loyal wingman" controlled by a parent aircraft, namely the Su-57.

The Okhotnik's design is based on the flying-wing scheme and incorporates use of composite materials and stealth coatings, making the drone low-observable in flight. It can fly at a maximum speed of 1000kmph, and has a weight of about 20 tons and a wingspan around 65 feet (20 m).

The aircraft appears to be fitted with an AL-31 turbofan engine that powers Su-27s, or an improved AL-41F derivative installed on Su-35S fighters and Su-57 prototypes. Although the first prototype's exhaust nozzle was conventional and thus degrading its low observable features, future upgrade could see improved exhaust as well as engine inlet as shown by a mock up during 2019 edition of MAKS.

The model of the stealth drone was devoid of the multiple antennas, small air inlets and exhaust vents, air data probes, and other structures that currently pockmark its skin.

The unmanned system has to reliably communicate with other aircraft at the least, and beyond-line-of-sight via satellite data-link if it is to realize its full potential. Stealthiness of the drone in regards to radio frequency and infrared spectrum has been criticized.

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