Military to Receive Okhotnik Unmanned Fighters

Aerospace forces of Russia will receive a "flock" of unmanned fighters. In the next two years, three more heavy S-70 Okhotnik unmanned fighters will be built, they will join the test program of the only prototype currently available. This was reported by Izvestia with reference to sources in the military-industrial complex and the military department.

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The Ministry of Defense has decided on the format for using the latest unmanned fighter. The fighter will have serious striking capabilities, which will make it multipurpose, experts say. For example, as a fighter, the fighter will be capable of hitting targets from a long distance, the sources added.

Currently, the plan and schedule of work on the new S-70 drone have already been approved, sources in the military-industrial complex told Izvestia. According to the appendix, which Izvest managed to get acquainted with, in the last quarter of this year, the assembly plant should receive a set of parts made of polymer composite materials for the drone's airframe, then another two sets in the first half of 2021. Each set of parts costs 286 million rubles (nearly US $3.8).

Three new vehicles will be built under a new government contract. The Ministry of Defence signed it with the Sukhoi company at the end of 2019 after the successful completion of research work on the "Okhotnik" (Russian for 'Hunter'), sources in the military-industrial complex told Izvestia.

It is also expected that these three UAVs will differ from the prototype in appearance. They have been modified to reduce radar signature, sources added. One of the vehicles will remain on the ground, it will be used for life tests. The other two will become flight duplicates.

According to Interfax AVN, citing materials on the public procurement website, more than 4 billion rubles (about US $51.3 million) will be spent on to coplete the creation of Okhotnik unmanned fighters, the first heavy attack drone in Russia.

The Sukhoi company (part of the UAC of the Rostec state corporation) has published on Government Procurement Portal information on a tender for the creation of a ground control points (GCPs) to ensure the development of the S-70 Okhotnik strike drone. It is planned to allocate 2.25 billion rubles (about US $ 28.9 million) for the implementation of this work by 30 September 2025.

The documents indicate that the developer of the control point must take part in the manufacturing of the third and fourth prototypes of the "Okhotnik" drone.

According to the draft contract, two prototypes of the GCP-70 for the development of the "Okhotnik" should be handed over to the customer in mid-2021, the third in January 2022. Preliminary state testing of products is planned to be completed by the end of 2023, and the full volume of state trials is to be completed by October 2025, after which it is planned to start organising serial production.

Also, the Government Procurement Portal published data from several more tenders and already concluded agreements under the same state contract with the Russian Ministry of Defence - the total cost of these works exceeds 2 billion rubles (about US $25.7 million). All contracts are due in September 2025.

In August, the head of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), Yuri Slyusar, said that the development work of the "Okhotnik" would be accelerated, supplies to the troops should begin in 2024, under the request of the Ministry of Defence. Prior to that, it was planned to start serial deliveries in 2025.