According to the defense official, the sixth generation jet program “its main features are already known,” although it “has not yet fully taken shape”.
TASS reported the official saying that: “First of all, it should be unmanned and capable of performing any combat task in an autonomous regime. In this sense, the stealth drone will become the prototype of the sixth generation fighter jet, a drone that will be able to “take off, fulfill its objectives and return to the airfield”.
“However, it will not receive the function of decision-making regarding the use of weapons – this will be decided by a human,” he added.
LiveJournal has published new images of the first prototype of the unmanned recon-strike drone known as the “Hunter”, at the site of the Novosibirsk Aviation Plant.
The model has been undergoing factory ground tests there since November 2018, and the start of the prototype flight tests of the prototype is scheduled for 2019.
A defense analyst told TASS that the single-engine Okhotnik stealth drone would start flight tests in the second half of this year.
“The Russian Defense Ministry and the Sukhoi Company signed a contract for developing the 20-ton Okhotnik (Hunter) heavy unmanned strike aircraft in 2011. The drone’s mock-up model was made in 2014.”
According to unconfirmed reports, composite materials and anti-radar coating were usedfor the drone equipped with a reaction-jet propulsion and it is supposed to develop a speed of 1000 kilometers per hour, TASS noted.
Sam Bendett, a researcher at the CNA Corporation and a member of CNA’s Center for Autonomy and AI, told Defense One, “Sounds like Russia wants everything to be included into the new design at once.
“In reality, they will probably have to compromise, selecting more realistic qualifications for the new aircraft. Most importantly, this will be an expensive endeavor, further pushing Russian designers and the Ministry of Defense to be more selective in approving the final aircraft specs. However, some qualifications, like optional manning, autonomy and some form of artificial intelligence will probably be included.”
Bendett said the Ohotnik offers a glimpse into Moscow’s thoughts on future warfare.
Defense One reported that Russia’s new stealth fighter could include radio-photon radar, anti-radar skin, directed energy and electromagnetic weapons, and have the ability to store missiles and precision-guided bombs.