Russia’s new heavy unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Okhotnik, performed its first ground run on the runway of the aviation plant in Novosibirsk earlier this month.
"The trial model of the Okhotnik UAV made its first run on the runway of the Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Plant, gathering the speed of 200 kmph in line with the program of trials. The takeoff was not performed," the source said. "Okhotnik performed taxi, ground run, acceleration and stoppage at the end of the runway in fully automated mode."
The attack drone will perform a series of ground runs by the end of the year, the source said.
The next stage of trials will include so-called jumps - the aircraft will briefly take off and land almost immediately. Once those trials are over, the drone will make its maiden flight.
The open sources assert that the Okhotnik had been developed using the radar signature reduction technology and employs "the flying wing" configuration. The vehicle takeoff weight reaches 20 tons. According to unconfirmed information, the drone is powered by a jet engine ensuring a speed of up to 1,000 km/h. The Okhotnik development contract was signed between the Defense Ministry and the Sukhoi aircraft maker in 2011. The first UAV prototype for on-land tests had been manufactured in 2014.
A defense industry source earlier told TASS that the drone’s artificial intelligence elements and autonomous regime technologies will be used as a prototype for Russia’s sixth generation fighter jet project.