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Russia to Test Attack Drone Prototype With Guided Munitions

A Russian long-range attack and reconnaissance drone prototype, the Altius, will undergo test flights with guided munitions this year, Sputnik News reported quoting a source.

The tests will include a range of guided weapons, including high-precision missiles targeting tanks, light-armored equipment, simulated concentrations of enemy troops, and artillery positions, according to the state-owned Russian news outlet.

“The Altius prototype test flights are planned for summer, with the first polygon airstrikes against ranged targets, guided air-to-ground weapons including high-precision guided missiles, and smart bombs designed for drones,” the unnamed source revealed.

Flight Tested Earlier With Unguided ‘Free-Fall’ Bombs

It was further revealed that that prototype has already been flight-tested utilizing unguided “free-fall” bombs.

Altius has been under development by the Kazan-based Simonov Design Bureau since 2011.

With a wingspan of 28.5 meters (93.5 feet) and a payload carrying capacity of six tons (13,228 lbs), the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is often compared to Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk.

an RQ-4 Global Hawk drone
An RQ-4 Global Hawk landed at Robins Air Force Base on May 24, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Tommie Horton

Russian Answer to American Global Hawk UAV

Altius’ flight ceiling maxes out at 12,000 meters (39,370 feet) to 15,000 meters (49,212 feet), compared to the Global Hawk’s 18,200 meters.

However, the Russian drone still has a long way to go in terms of its flight radius of 10,000 kilometers (6,214 miles) where the American UAV far outstrips it with a range of 22,000 kilometers (13,670 miles) flight range.

Developers claim that the armed version of the drone can stay in the air in autonomous mode for up to 48 hours while carrying a two-ton weapons payload.

The reconnaissance version, which is propelled by two 500 horsepower engines, carries an assortment of sensors such as electro-optical/infra-red.

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