See Russia’s New Batwing Stealth S-70 ‘Hunter’ Heavy Combat Drone, Deploying in 2024

Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik-B first prototype in 2020. / Photo by Geektrooper2 on Wikimedia Commons

Despite Russia being cash-strapped, the Russian military continues its modernization and expansion drive. Its latest effort includes the upgraded S-70 Okhotnik (Hunter) heavy combat drone is on its way to the military for testing.

Hunter is developed by Chkalov’s Novosibirsk aviation plant in western Siberia — a subsidiary of the famous Sukhoi Company.

As always, it’s up to western analysts to separate true capabilities from Kremlin hype.

But, the drone reportedly uses a Russian made-engine — the Al-41F1, which is also used on the Su-57 and the Checkmate aircraft — giving it a range of up to 3728 miles (6,000 kilometers). It also is equipped with a flat nozzle to increase its stealth capability.

The Hunter has a takeoff weight of 20 tons, measures 46 feet (14 meters) long and has a wingspan of 62 feet (19 meters0. This new version can reportedly reach speeds up to 620 mph (1,000 kph).

According to Defense News:

The new S-70 is equipped with technologies “surpassing a few foreign analogues by a number of parameters,” Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexey Krivoruchko told reporters Wednesday during a visit to the Novosibirsk plant.

A spokesman for the United Aircraft Corporation, which owns Sukhoi, told Defense News that the S-70 is a “promising aviation platform with great potential for the development of a family of unmanned systems of the future.”

The drone is expected to complement Su-57 fighter missions, with one jet able to work in tandem with up to four S-70s, an aviation industry source told state-run news agency Tass. If testing is successful, the drone will enter service in 2024, Krivoruchko said.

Despite the hype, questions remain.

Retired Col. Mikhail Khodoryonok, a senior military analyst for local news site Gazeta.Ru, told Defense News that the drone “has to prove itself in a combat mission,” possibly in Syria. Khodaryonok also has his doubts about Skat’s future.

The head of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, Ruslan Pukhov, said:

One has to wait and see. Will it turn into a flying robot that will be able to fly long distances and to perform combat operations? ADN

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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Robert Powell
Robert Powell
29 days ago

this looks remarkably like something Boeing …one wonders if the prints were shared with Putins group by obama or clinton..

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