An image of the unmanned combat air vehicle Okhotnik (hunter in Russian), or S-70, developed in secretive in Russia emerged this week in the country’s main social network, the VK. Officially called URBK, the Russian acronym for “Unmanned Attack and Reconnaissance System”, the aircraft is a project of the Sukhoi manufacturer started in mid-2012 at the request of the Russian Ministry of Defense.
In the picture taken from a distance and between trees, the unmanned military aircraft reveals its winged form on a snow-covered taxiway. US media, however, suspect the image has been deliberately “leaked,” since the Russians plan to fly with the aircraft later this year.
The Okhotnik design is similar to that of high performance unmanned combat aircraft vehicles (UCAV) developed and tested in the US, such as the Northrop Grumman X-47B and Boeing Phantom Ray X-45C, as well as British BAE Raven and Dassault nEUROn designed in France . In addition, this new class of military aircraft still stands out for the ability to perform attacks without being detected by radars.
In November 2018, an unidentified source from the Russian defense ministry told Russia’s TASS news agency that the Ohkotnik prototype completed the first ground tests, including the takeoff run, at the unit of the Aircraft Production Association of Russia. Novosibirsk, which supports the Sukhoi project. The source also said that the unmanned aircraft accelerated and slowed down in a “fully automated mode.”
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) 18 de janeiro de 2019
UCAV from MiG
An earlier image allegedly of the Russian aircraft emerged in 2017 as part of an official slide of the Russian Ministry of Defense. The much lower quality photo showed a flying wing design resembling that of the newly caught model.
One possible evidence about Ohkotnik came from another Russian aircraft, a Su-57 fighter. The aircraft was photographed using unique markings showing the shape of an unmanned aerial vehicle flying alongside the figure of a Su-57 with a lightning between the two. The military jet in question still counts an extra antenna in the fuselage, perhaps used to connect to the UAV.
In parallel to the Sukhoi project, another Russian company, MiG, is also working on its own unmanned and stealthy military air vehicle, known as Skat, whose current situation is unclear. According to the report on The Driver website, there are unconfirmed reports that this project may have helped in the development of Ohkotnik. The two manufacturers are both subsidiaries of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) group, controlled by the Russian government.