Russia rolls out stealthier Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik combat UAV

A modified, stealthier production version of the Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) has been unveiled. The official rollout took place on December 14 at the Novosibirsk Aviation Plant V P Chkalov. The UCAV was still largely painted only in primer and has yet to make its maiden flight.

Second S-70 Okhotnik
The second prototype Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) being rolled out on December 14 at the Novosibirsk Aviation Plant V P Chkalov. The people standing behind give a good indication of the large size of the type, which weighs in at 20 metric tons. UAC

This is the second S-70 to be produced, following on from an initial prototype, from which it differs in several respects, including having a much flatter jet exhaust nozzle to give a reduced radar signature. The UCAV will also have a new ground control station, which is currently under development.

Work on the UCAV by the Sukhoi Design Bureau has been under way since 2011 and the first experimental prototype made its maiden flight on August 3, 2019. At the rollout of the second airframe, General Director of United Aircraft Corporation, Yuri Slyusar, said: “Today we are making every effort to complete the tests as soon as possible and enter serial production.” During the event, a delegation from the Ministry of Defence was shown progress on construction of the next Okhotnik airframe.

Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said it is hoped that the definitive design configuration can be finalised in 2022, following which a major production contract for the Russian armed forces would be signed. It is ambitiously planned to begin delivery of production batches in 2024, although it remains to be seen whether such a schedule can be achieved.