Russian UAV/UCAV developments

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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element1loop

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Unread post27 Sep 2019, 17:40

I see a prototype drone and a prototype Su57 flying in formation with it, not the other way around. No 'mazing 'capability' of any sort is implied.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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southerncross

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Unread post27 Sep 2019, 18:14

mixelflick wrote:Being as big as it is though (drone), isn't it going to be - expensive?

I read some estimations of it going to be roughly as expensive as the Su-34, but there was no real reasoning behind.
One engine vs. two, small(ish) radar, no life support equipment for the pilot / cockpit / HMI, simple structure without supersonic flight requirements, defensive suite / redundancy and survivability measures can be lowered... there are some savings there to compensate for higher technology, VLO, avionics, ISR equipment etc. On the long term, when such technologies mature a bit, it could be IMHO cheaper and more simple to produce than an equivalent manned strike plane.
And this would be on top of the SU-57's cost (not buying the bargain basement figure's they're throwing out, unless it lost a hell of a lot of capability). The whole thing makes you wonder..

You have official domestic prices for Su-30/35 that are also a bargain compared to equivalent Western ones.
1.) If the SU-57 is so good, why the need for the Hunter?

Russia sees no real possibility to operate safely inside an advanced IADS on the long run and no need to expose manned platforms to that risk, that would be the short answer.

An UCAV as the Okhotnik has the following advantages IMHO:
- Obvious smaller sensitivity to attrition, since no pilot is being lost, and therefore possibility to increase operational effectiveness by using higher risk approaches.
- Much improved persistence and range (Putin is supposed to have said 6,000 km range to Erdogan while they were discussing at MAKS2019, obviously no proof available)
- Derived from above, subsonic / low maneuverability design and therefore use of flying-wing layout with top intake for best broad-band VLO performance.
2.) If the SU-57 is so cheap, why not just buy more vs. go to the expense of developing a complex drone?

Because the drone will be more effective for the strike role in non-permissive scenarios, see above. The Su-57 is a high-end supersonic fighter manned only by the elite of Russian pilots, it would not be smart to sacrifice them attempting unreasonably high risk missions.
I have a feeling the Russians know the SU-57 isn't stealthy enough, and Hunter is there for insurance.

Okhotnik is not for insurance but as an organic part of the VKS in the strike and intelligence roles.
I may be wrong, but if its such a great concept - why has the US not invested in companion drones for the F-22 and F-35?

US is IMHO not pursuing a very different path. The CSBA analysis I posted re. USN and some others about AF all point out to UCAVs and stand-off weapons as workable ways to deal with high-end IADS or pointing out the need to catch up with the development of the AD.
Loyal wingman is being actively developed and the US military has already done this job Russians are only doing now some time ago.

EDIT:
Janes claims there was indeed some kind of teaming between both planes during the test flight:
https://www.janes.com/article/91563/rus ... 57-fighter
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southerncross

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Unread post27 Sep 2019, 20:20

Confirmation about some operational data of the Okhotnik:
The forum "MAX-2019" the President of Russia Vladimir Putin told his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the characteristics of the latest drone. This footage was shown in the program "Moscow. The Kremlin. Putin" on - "Russia-1" (VGTRK).
"Combat load is 6 tons. Radiozametnost - even less than the su-57", - said Putin.
He noted that the range of "Hunter" is about 6 thousand kilometers and a flight altitude of 18 km.

https://www.militarynews.ru/story.asp?r ... 50&lang=RU
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Unread post28 Sep 2019, 02:13

[/quote]

EDIT:
We of course don't have the public reason for the cancellation, so here is the shocker (cue drumroll) ....

The head of the company was arrested in April, for embezzling at least 900m rubles out of the project :roll:

Link: (google translate) https://translate.google.com/translate? ... edit-text=[/quote]



Not to worry... Joe Biden will have the prosecutor fired.
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awsome

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Unread post28 Sep 2019, 02:23

knowan wrote:
babybat{}.net wrote:...Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Moldova, Balkan republics, possibly Belarus, possibly Turkey, Middle East Monarchies, Transcaucasus Countries...


It's almost as if the expansion of NATO was justified.



Nobody has ever been able to explain why Russia would ever invade those extremely poor countries. NATO may be interested in propping them up to exploit their proximity to Russia's borders but there is a good reason Russia let them go in the first place...
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element1loop

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Unread post28 Sep 2019, 02:31

southerncross wrote:I read some estimations of it going to be roughly as expensive as the Su-34, but there was no real reasoning behind. One engine vs. two, small(ish) radar, no life support equipment for the pilot / cockpit / HMI, simple structure without supersonic flight requirements, defensive suite / redundancy and survivability measures can be lowered... there are some savings there to compensate for higher technology, VLO, avionics, ISR equipment etc. On the long term, when such technologies mature a bit, it could be IMHO cheaper and more simple to produce than an equivalent manned strike plane.


It's capability cost not aircraft cost which matters to affordability. Maintenance and operations cost of a global satellite constellation and its down-links, and defending all that, is an intrinsic element in generating and maintaining a credible high-end UCAS capability.

southerncross wrote:EDIT: Janes claims there was indeed some kind of teaming between both planes during the test flight: https://www.janes.com/article/91563/rus ... 57-fighter


JANES: "... As noted by the MoD, the Okhotnik UAV served as a ‘sensor-amplifier’ for the Su-57, flying out ahead of the manned aircraft and using its onboard sensors to feed information back to the pilot. ..."

:doh:
You've got to be kidding? A datalinked drone provides near real-time sensor data to another platform? I'd be seriously shocked if it didn't (and asking what's wrong with it?). An MQ-1 Predator with a rotax-engine was doing that 25 years ago.

When I think of 'teaming' with a strikefighter, as a tactical capability, providing fused data to a pilot isn't it. Even long-range rocket artillery or a drone could deliver a battery-operated passive ground sensor to provide forward area data. A loitering missile with ESM and a two-way datalink can relay what's in front of you.

But if it can't fight tactically, as well as a human does, that's not even as good as having a disposable datalinked MALD which can find the enema, get into position on it then kamikaze a canopy or hot-section as the opening act of an ambush, after you've already been flanked by a wide open formation of 4 x F-35A.

"Ramming speed!" :devil:
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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Unread post28 Sep 2019, 10:39

element1loop wrote: :doh:
You've got to be kidding? A datalinked drone provides near real-time sensor data to another platform? I'd be seriously shocked if it didn't (and asking what's wrong with it?). An MQ-1 Predator with a rotax-engine was doing that 25 years ago.

When I think of 'teaming' with a strikefighter, as a tactical capability, providing fused data to a pilot isn't it. Even long-range rocket artillery or a drone could deliver a battery-operated passive ground sensor to provide forward area data. A loitering missile with ESM and a two-way datalink can relay what's in front of you.

We just don't know what level of information processing they are using as of now, the first flight of this thing was on August 3rd. But given Su-57 is said to have an AI "artificial pilot" that assesses the tactical situation as a whole and guides the human onboard, I would not dismiss the possibility that a corresponding AI on Okhotnik will be sharing info with it. They have said there is a plan to continuously expand the capabilities of the Su-57 - Okhotnik teaming, as anyone could predict BTW and in the same line US and everyone out there is working, so that the pilot of the plane will be the man in the loop overseeing the mission as a whole and the UCAV(s) being able to implement complex tasks pretty much autonomously. The article you posted on the PCA thread just explains it.

This is what the MoD is quoted saying:
"During the flight, had worked out the interaction between the UAV "Hunter" and leader of the su-57 on the expansion radar field of the fighter and target designation for the application of aircraft weapons, long-range without entering su-57 in the conditional area of counteraction of air defense", - stated in the defense Ministry.
The defense Ministry said that it was the first joint flight of "Hunter" and su-57 as part of testing the new drone, it lasted 30 minutes.
According to the Agency, "Hunter" "flew in the automatic mode in full configuration with access to the zone duty".

This, as opposed to the Okhotnik flying controlled from the ground station and a Su-57 flying in formation with it just for the sake of shooting a cool video, but without any data sharing or system integration effort. We just don't know at what level the data sharing between both AC works, so any assumption on that being crude or not is a personal opinion.
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element1loop

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Unread post28 Sep 2019, 14:23

southerncross wrote: ... so any assumption on that being crude or not is a personal opinion.


Wrong, those are prototypes, they are not even production aircraft, let alone operational aircraft, and at least one of them is new to flying and very crude. I likewise don't believe in magic unicorns.
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Unread post28 Sep 2019, 17:54

element1loop wrote:Wrong, those are prototypes, they are not even production aircraft, let alone operational aircraft, and at least one of them is new to flying and very crude. I likewise don't believe in magic unicorns.

Wrong, you cannot know what kind of system integration and data fusion they have implemented to this date, and therefore you are simply speculating and apparently hoping they are nowhere close to what you think is actually useful, when the rational approach would be to be cautious. Fact is the systems and algorithms needed for such functions don't even need the platforms to be tested. An beyond HIL benches, T50-3 has been flying for some time now with the avionics intended for Okhtonik. We just don't know, regardless of you pretending otherwise.
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Unread post28 Sep 2019, 21:18

mixelflick wrote:I may be wrong, but if its such a great concept - why has the US not invested in companion drones for the F-22 and F-35?


Okhotnik isn't just buddy drone for Su-57 it can be used in that role but from what officials said is strike role. They are planing to have air force units armed with Okhotnik only.

And US did have similar project (I don't mean buddy drone) it was UCAS. If you look never built X-47B dimensions they are very similar to Okhotnik, Okhotnik have better range because no need to carrier operation which add extra weight.
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Unread post29 Sep 2019, 03:33

southerncross wrote:
element1loop wrote:Wrong, those are prototypes, they are not even production aircraft, let alone operational aircraft, and at least one of them is new to flying and very crude. I likewise don't believe in magic unicorns.

Wrong, you cannot know what kind of system integration and data fusion they have implemented to this date, and therefore you are simply speculating and apparently hoping they are nowhere close to what you think is actually useful, when the rational approach would be to be cautious. Fact is the systems and algorithms needed for such functions don't even need the platforms to be tested. An beyond HIL benches, T50-3 has been flying for some time now with the avionics intended for Okhtonik. We just don't know, regardless of you pretending otherwise.


But you seem to think you know enough to sprout such BS? We've all seen way too many Russian propaganda claims that turned out to false and baseless to award an once of credence to such hopey pet-claims. Unreserved scepticism is fully warranted especially with absurd crap like this in the mix:

"... In the documents, the drone is characterised as a "sixth-generation unmanned aerial vehicle". ... " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_S-70_Okhotnik


Really? And where are the other five generations? Stuff like that immediate gives the game away for what it is. It goes on thus ...

"... In November 2018, the drone performed first series of taxiing, speeding and stopping tests in fully autonomous mode at a runway of the NAPO plant. During the runs, it has reached a maximum speed of 200 km/h. ... "


So it's just learning to operate and is now undergoing its earliest flight-tests but you actually expect us to believe it's a mission-systems capable aircraft? ...... Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. :roll:

On 24 January 2019, first flyable prototype of the drone was seen towed at the NAPO plant.[13] According to Russian officials, the Su-57 is being used as a flying laboratory for the testing of the Okhotnik's avionics systems.


i.e. the Su57 software is not as developed as you merely claimed, it's at an initial experimentation level, if it exists at all on the jet. It smells and looks like raw propaganda sewage at this point. Maybe they should just deploy it to Syrious to lend it some battle-'cred'! lol

Okhotnik is in the teething developmental stage, at best.

" ... On 3 August 2019, Okhotnik performed its maiden flight. ... "


The first flight was 7 weeks ago. Claims of advanced capabilities beyond that reality are odious cringe-worthy garbage.
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Unread post29 Sep 2019, 11:35

@element1loop
The only thing I have said is that we don't know what level of data fusion and tactical integration are being used, I have not claimed any advanced operational capability at all, so don't put words in my mouth. And OBVIOUSLY this is only the beginning of the experimentation with UCAV-fighter integration, many years are still needed to develop, test and fine tune all necessary elements to make them operationally effective.
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Unread post10 Nov 2019, 16:51

Russian UCAV Okhotnik-b is getting new, flat & stealthy engine exhaust nozzle. So it seems that the current engine is just a temporary solution. :wink:

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... on-460500/

MAKS: Sukhoi shows intent to add stealthy exhaust on S-70 UAV

Sukhoi displayed a sub-scale model of its S-70 Okhotnik “Hunter” unmanned air vehicle (UAV) with a flattened exhaust outlet at the MAKS international air show on 27 August.

The nozzle, which conforms to the flying wing’s shape, shows that the Russian military aircraft manufacturer intends to make its UAV stealthier than the initial prototype that it began flying on 7 August. That aircraft’s engine exhaust tip was exposed, a design which could raise the aircraft’s radar cross section (RCS) and infrared signature.
However, the aircraft model looks similar to Western flying wing UAVs such as the Dassault Neuron, BAE Systems Taranis and Northrop Grumman X-47B. The flying wing shape should give it less radar cross section.

Image
Image
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Unread post17 Nov 2019, 12:16

vladimir wrote:Russian UCAV Okhotnik-b is getting new, flat & stealthy engine exhaust nozzle. So it seems that the current engine is just a temporary solution. :wink:

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... on-460500/

MAKS: Sukhoi shows intent to add stealthy exhaust on S-70 UAV

Sukhoi displayed a sub-scale model of its S-70 Okhotnik “Hunter” unmanned air vehicle (UAV) with a flattened exhaust outlet at the MAKS international air show on 27 August.

The nozzle, which conforms to the flying wing’s shape, shows that the Russian military aircraft manufacturer intends to make its UAV stealthier than the initial prototype that it began flying on 7 August. That aircraft’s engine exhaust tip was exposed, a design which could raise the aircraft’s radar cross section (RCS) and infrared signature.
However, the aircraft model looks similar to Western flying wing UAVs such as the Dassault Neuron, BAE Systems Taranis and Northrop Grumman X-47B. The flying wing shape should give it less radar cross section.

Image
Image


A temporary solution which will continue maybe 15-20 years.
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Unread post17 Nov 2019, 21:38

falcon.16 wrote:A temporary solution which will continue maybe 15-20 years.


Offical plan is 2024/2025 and I think it is possible because new chief of RuAF is fan of drones, he is ex-army and he isn't pleased about what RuAF can do for boots on ground. That is one reason why Su-57 orders were reduced and delayed, if ex-pilot is RuAF chief Su-57 would be probable in serial production right now.
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