Russia is accelerating development of the UCAV S-70, the squire of its fifth-generation Su-57 fighter

Russia is expanding the capabilities of its Sukhoi Su-57 fighter aircraft to include the unmanned combat aircraft or the S-70 unmanned combat aircraft (UCAV), which is integrated into the aircraft. Like the FCAS (European Future Combat Air System) program, which is still at the design stage, Russia is assessing the interaction between a system and a state-of-the-art fighter aircraft like the Sukhoi Su-57 with stealth or stealth capabilities. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation has ordered three new prototypes of the UCAV S-70 Okhotnik (fighter). The Sukhoi plant in Novosibirsk would be responsible for production. The trials could begin in 2022 and continue through 2023.

The second prototype would include changes to its design to better protect the sensors, improve its flight controls and the sensors associated with its capabilities (reconnaissance, labeling, and communication) so it could evolve and escape enemy missile launches. and attack your targets autonomously. These changes are based on lessons learned from testing the first prototype, which began in the summer of 2019.

After validation of these modifications, the third and fourth prototypes will have a configuration similar to future production models and will be developed for testing weapon systems and collaborative human-machine combat systems or by Manned Unmanned Teaming (MUM / T). However, the first prototype will continue to perform its flight phases. In December last year, the Russian agency RIA Novosti reported that a new test phase of the UCAV had been carried out in the Ashuluk test and firing area near the Caspian Sea with the bomb FAB-500 M-62 500 kg. thrown at targets whose coordinates were known in advance. Since last summer, the aforementioned Ashuluk polygon has also been equipped with several anti-UAV systems, which are supposed to simulate a highly competitive airspace with modern ground-to-ground means (S-400, Pantsir S1, offensive electronic interference …) .

Last summer, the OAK consortium (which Sukhoi is a part of) was able to push its program forward by 12 months to accelerate production and deployment of the aircraft from 2024. This Sukhoi 20-ton UAV has a wingspan equivalent to that of a MiG-29. Its armament would be largely similar to that of the Su-57, including the famous miniaturized version of the KH-47M2 Khinjal hypersonic missile.

According to the speech of the Russian Defense Minister S. Shoigu, the UCAV S-70 Okhotnik is actively involved in the reinforcement of the Russian air fleet in order to penetrate the NATO air defense. The S-70 could integrate 2 to 3 squadrons of Su-57 to extend their radar detection range. The role of the S-70 could also develop into that of an interceptor, which not only neutralizes enemy combat aircraft, but also reconnaissance, early warning or aerial refueling platforms and thus justifies the integration of short-term missiles. Medium range (R73, R74 and R77). In conclusion, the Russian UCAV could increase the attack capacity of the Russian aerospace force tenfold before the final deployment of the 76 Su-57s is scheduled for 2027. (Julio Maz Sanz)

Photo: The 5th generation Sukhoi Su-57 fighter aircraft flying in formation with an S-70 (above) in this digital image. (Photo OAK)

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