A new, super-stealthy variant of Russia's recently developed heavy combat drone, which is equipped with advanced anti-detection capabilities, has been unveiled for the first time and will undertake its maiden flight soon.
The modified Sukhoi S-70, known as the "Okhotnik" or "Hunter," was presented to the world on Tuesday in the city of Novosibirsk, in southern Siberia. Aleksey Krivoruchko, a deputy at the Russian Ministry of Defense, oversaw the process.
"Creating drones of this class is only possible for countries with developed aviation industries, which allow for the entire cycle of development - from the design, to the preparation, to the carrying out of all types of trials," Krivoruchko said.
"The rollout of this UAV [Unmanned Aerial Vehicle] means that the entire product has been assembled and equipped with all the necessary on-board equipment required by an aircraft." He added that it was now time for preparations for the drone's first flight. Prototypes without its increased stealthy technology and armaments have been tested in recent months.
The "Hunter" is built with a flat rocket nozzle, which helps to avoid radar detection, giving it state-of-the-art stealth capabilities. Krivoruchko said that he thinks the technology is unique to Russia, and that the new UAV represents "the highest achievements of our defense industry's enterprises and organizations."
In a documentary that aired on Russian TV last weekend, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia has overtaken the rest of the world in military technology. He said that his nation was at parity with the US in terms of nuclear arsenals, but that Russia had developed superior conventional weapons.
In November, Putin revealed that his country has at least 2,000 drones for use in reconnaissance and combat missions. "We know very well how unmanned aircraft has proven itself in armed conflicts in recent years, how effective and also how dangerous it can be for us," he commented.
Later that month, Putin announced that the Russian navy would be equipped with advanced hypersonic missiles in 2022, saying, "Now, it is especially important to develop and implement the technologies necessary to create new hypersonic weapons systems, high-powered lasers and robotic systems that will be able to effectively counter potential military threats, which means they will further strengthen the security of our country."