Russia’s Sukhoi Company has earmarked $52 million (4 billion rubles) for the development of S-70 Okhotnik unmanned Combat aircraft until 2025.
The expenses include creation of a ground control center for approximately $29 million (2.250 billion rubles), according to information posted on public procurement website.
Two prototypes of the ground control center will be handed over to the Russian defense ministry by mid-2021, followed by another in January 2022. Preliminary state tests of products are planned to be completed by the end of 2023 and mass production will begin in October 2025.
Several other contracts exceeding 2 billion rubles were signed. All contracts are due in September 2025.
Sukhoi sought a 1.2 billion rubles ($18 million) insurance for its Okhotnik (Hunter) stealth drone to cover damages during its development and testing period, this June.
Okhotnik (Hunter) is a stealth-capable heavy drone that has a low signature, a flying wing design, and a takeoff weight of 20 tons. The drone has a jet engine and is capable of developing a speed of around 1,000kmph.
It is made of composite materials and a radar-absorbing coat, besides being outfitted with electro-optical systems.
It took off on its maiden flight, that lasted over 20 minutes, on August 3, 2019. “The first flight took place at 12.20 Moscow time and lasted for over 20 minutes. The aerial vehicle flown by the operator made several circles around the airfield at an altitude of 600 meters and then successfully landed,” the Russian defense ministry had said in a release.
In the month that followed, 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.