Okhotnik “Hunter” and Su-57 fighter: Russia’s stealthy combo

The Su-57 and Okhotnik squadrons can destroy big strategic targets such as command centres and adversary military targets, as well as relieve the burden on massive bombers such as the Tu-160, Tu-22, and MiG-31.

A 1,000 km/h top speed and a 6,000 km range are claimed for the S-70 Okhotnik (also known as Hunter-B) thanks to its AL-31 turbojet engine. It has radios, electro-optical targeting systems, and other reconnaissance tools. There is room within for 2.8 tonnes of armaments. For the Russian military, this UCAV series can serve as a seamless transition since it allows them to develop and test technologies that will eventually be used on 6th generation fighters. Russian military officials believe that the S-70 Okhotnik has a great deal of potential to entirely replace manned combat aircraft.

“The S-70 Okhotnik includes several components of the sixth generation fighter,” stated Russian military researcher Yuri Knutov. In addition to being able to travel at supersonic speed and low altitude in the future, it will be able to fly at higher altitudes and even into space. However, that depends on the investigation and creation of the appropriate engines.

The Su-57 can command a fleet of Okhotnik drones, and this combination creates fantastic chances to address difficulties, according to expert Yuri Knutov. strategic goal. The Hunter was created in a similar manner to the Su-57. The Su-57 aircraft flew combat missions in Ukraine before returning covertly to their base.

Large strategic targets like command centres and adversary military sites can be destroyed by the Su-57 and Okhotnik squad, which can also lighten the load on powerful bombers like the Tu-160, Tu-22, and MiG-31.

No NATO member state, according to Boris Artyakov, deputy CEO of Russia’s state-owned technology company Rostec, has a UCAV system that can compete with Okhotnik. The US made an attempt to construct UCAV with comparable performance qualities but gave up because its engineers were unable to get past the technical challenges.

Russia is currently supporting the advancement of the S-70 Okhotnik unmanned aerial vehicle. The testing of the new version began in December 2021 and is now ongoing. The engine portion is no longer “exposed” as it was in the previous version, which is a very major change. The engine’s advancement caused the body construction to evolve as well. In the previous design, the S-70 Okhotnik was radar susceptible because the engine was exposed outside of the stealth shell.

According to Sergei Chemezov, CEO of Rostec, a state-owned Russian defence company, the company is creating a new ground-based control centre for drones. The proposal calls for the transfer of the UCAV Okhotnik to Russian air force units by 2024.

According to RIA Novosti, Okhotnik tested the UCAV’s fire control system at the UCAV Center using simulated tests with infrared (IR) and radar-guided air-to-air missiles. 2020 will see the 185th Combat Training and Applications in Ashuluk. At the Ashuluk range near the Caspian Sea, Okhotnik also carried out its first live-fire test by dropping unguided bombs on a target.

Earlier on June 9, RIA Novosti claimed that Russia has sent four Su-57 aircraft to Ukraine for a military operation with the primary goal of defeating the adversary’s air defence system (SEAD). Through automatic communication, data transmission, navigation, and target recognition, these 4 aircraft are connected to a single communication network to attack air defence systems. Additionally established is the Su-57’s capabilities for low-altitude observation.

Fighter jets and drones can work together to establish a battle formation, according to Andrey Yelchaninov, first vice chairman of the Russian Military-Industrial Committee. Russia is creating a two-seat Su-57 to command a squadron of Okhotniks “in an interactive network to strike air and ground targets,” according to TASS.

According to military experts, the June 9 exercise demonstrated that it is likely that the Su-57 will not be deployed for traditional tactical operations since Su-30 and Su-35 aircraft handle the majority of air-to-air and air-to-ground tasks. Instead, the Su-57 will be sent on a mission to overwhelm and destroy enemy air defences or destroy adversary fighters at a great distance using missiles like the Vympel R-77.

The Okhotnik tests also demonstrate that this UCAV is capable of carrying out successful missile attacks on small camouflaged targets throughout the day.

The S-70 Okhotnik’s ability to function in space has been questioned by a US drone expert who claims that the UACV was initially intended to “penetrate defence systems” instead.

Because there are still a lot of functions that need to be developed around the primary duty of air defence penetration, the S-70 Okhotnik’s spaceflight capabilities need more time to be evaluated.

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