Russia’s heavy strike stealth drone, Okhotnik, or Hunter, successfully dropped a large bomb in a first of its kind test for the aircraft.
The test comes more than a month after the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flew with simulated air-to-air missiles, underscoring its rapid progress in becoming a combat drone.
In the recent test at the Ashuluk range some 680 miles south of Moscow, Okhotnik dropped half-ton unguided aerial bombs from its inner fuselage compartment at a ground target, reported Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency.
The agency further wrote, quoting a source, that the aircraft’s newly installed sighting and navigation system guided the free-falling ammunition to hit the target “with an accuracy approaching that of a high-precision guided weapon.”
Capable Of Hitting Slow Moving Ground Targets
Without revealing whether the drone was operating autonomously or remotely controlled in the test, the source told the news outlet that Okhotnik is capable of hitting stationary and slow-moving ground targets while operating autonomously “with previously known coordinates, including when receiving external target designation in the air.”
The 20-ton UAV, which can reportedly fly up to 1,000 kilometers per hour and features stealth technology, is being developed by Moscow to fly with its fifth-generation Su-57 fighter.
In its wingman role, the 14 meter UAV is being designed to complement the aircraft during missions, providing it with enhanced combat capabilities and protection from enemy aircraft.
Under development by the state-run Sukhoi Design Bureau, the drone performed its first flight on August 3, 2019. It is expected to be handed over to defense forces by 2024.