Russia is planning to conduct weapons trial of Okhotnik (Hunter) stealthy combat drone next year, a defense industry source revealed.
"The drone’s onboard air-launched weapons will begin to be tested for combat employment at the testing range of the 929th State Flight Test Center of the Defense Ministry," the source was quoted as saying by TASS on Wednesday.
The Okhotnik is currently performing a series of flights in Akhtubinsk sans armament.
"The Okhotnik’s trials in Akhtubinsk will be continued in 2020. In some cases, the drone is is set to take to the skies several times day and night both on its own and together with fighter jets," the source added.
There was however no official confirmation on the development.
Russia’s Okhotnik heavy attack drone developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau performed its debut flight on August 3. The flight lasted over 20 minutes under an operator’s control.
On September 27, the Okhotnik performed a flight together with a Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet. The drone maneuvered in the air in the automated mode at an altitude of around 1,600 meters and its flight lasted over 30 minutes.
The Okhotnik features stealth technology and the flying wing design (it lacks the tail) and has a take-off weight of 20 tonnes. The drone has a jet engine and is capable of developing a speed of around 1,000 km/h.
According to the data of Russia’s Defense Ministry, the drone has anti-radar coating and is outfitted with equipment for electro-optical, radar and other types of reconnaissance.
The remote-controlled Okhotnik model was unveiled at the Army-2019 international defense exhibition outside Moscow in late June.