Russia has rolled out the first flight prototype of its Okhotnik (“Hunter”) stealth drone ahead of trials and future serial production, state media reported Tuesday.
The Okhotnik’s latest configuration features a 3D-printed “flat jet nozzle” for reduced radar visibility, according to the state-run TASS news agency.
Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko said the Okhotnik’s rollout “signifies the end of the item’s assembly” and the “switchover to comprehensive ground tests to prepare for its debut flight.”
Krivoruchko oversaw the prototype’s rollout at the Novosibirsk Aviation Enterprise alongside the CEOs of its developers, the Rostec defense conglomerate and its subsidiary, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).
The Defense Ministry previously showcased the Okhotnik’s first flight in 2019, when it made several circles at an altitude of 600 meters for 20 minutes. Later that year, the Russia military paired the Okhotnik with the Su-30SM and the advanced Su-57 fighter jets.
The combat drone can fly at speeds of up to 1,000 kilometers per hour and is equipped with a jet engine and anti-radar skin coating. Critics say its weight of up to 20 tons could create aerodynamic and other high-tech issues for the unmanned aerial vehicle.
U.S. media has compared the Okhotnik to the B-2 stealth bomber.
According to UAC’s comments to TASS, the Okhotnik will be able to strike aerial and ground targets as part of network-centric warfare with Su-57 fifth-generation fighters.
TASS also reported that an Su-57 pilot would simultaneously coordinate four or more Okhotnik drones.
Serial deliveries of the Okhotnik are expected to begin in 2024, TASS said.