Russian long-range combat drone will soon begin testing

If there is one area in which the Russian defense industry is discreet to say the least, it is the development of its aerial combat drones, or UCAV for Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle. Two projects are currently known:

  • the 5-ton Sokol/Tranzas armed reconnaissance UCAV project
  • the 20-ton Sukhoi Okhotnik (fighter) Project

It is this last project which interests us today, since the manufacturer Suckhoi announces that the prototype will be able begin flight testing by the end of the year

Very little is known about this project, except that it is a stealth combat drone, weighing 20 tons, and that it is intended to collaborate with the Su-57 . Powered by the Saturn Al31F engine which equips the Su-27 and the Su-30, it would reach the high subsonic speed of 1000 km/h, for an impressive range of 6000 km.

With this announcement, Russia shows that it intends to stay in the race, facing American and especially Chinese projects, the latter now developing no less than 7 stealth UCAV programs in parallel.

This also shows that, if Europe and France had a head start in the field with the Neuron demonstrator, this will quickly fade if the FCAS project, initially Franco-British and planned to be operational in 2030, is integrated into the Franco-German FCAS project with a commissioning date postponed to 2040.

If this is the case, Europe risks reproducing the scenario of MALE drones, like many other subjects, or initially fools us well in advance, only to find itself downgraded for lack of conviction.

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