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Moscow orders Sukhoi to speed up drone deliveries

written by Sandy Milne | August 4, 2020

Air-to-air shot of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 flying off the coast of Italy near Sanremo (Katsuhiko Tokunaga/SuperJet International).

Russia has brought forward production deadlines for the state-controlled United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), calling on the company to deliver the S-70 Okhotnik “Hunter” unmmaned air vehicle (UAV) ahead of schedule.

While originally slated for delivery in 2025, a recent directive from Russian President Vladimir Putin will see the stealth S-70 handed over in 2025.

Designed to shoulder a payload of some six tonnes, the drone boasts an operational ceiling of 59,000 feet. This positions it for not just intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) outings, but also for more sensitive sorties such as carrying air-to-air missiles.

State-run media outlet TASS reported the move, as well as comments made by UAC chief Yuri Slyusar to President Putin.

“We received an assignment from the defence ministry to speed up the experimental design work and maximally adjust the schedule in order to begin the deliveries already from 2024,” said Slyusar.

“That is why we are actively working with colleagues on this issue.”

In a separate statement, Slyusar described the model as a “heavy attack drone with unprecedented capabilities, having the largest combat radius, the widest range of weapons, the widest range of equipment”.


Slyusar also said that the capabilities conferred by the S-70 bring the Russian Federation into line with modern fleets maintained by the US and China.


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