An article found on The National Interest reports that Russia’s prototype stealth drone will make its first flight in July or August 2019, state media reported.
The Hunter-B drone will be fully autonomous and follow a pre-programmed flight path, according to Russian news agency TASS.
“The Russian defense establishment is promising a test that will include a short-duration ‘jump’—the [unmanned combat air vehicle] will rise ever so briefly above the tarmac to test its launching and landing capabilities,” said Samuel Bendett, an independent expert on the Russian military.
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“The flight will not last for long — several dozens of minutes at the maximum,” a source told TASS. “Teams on the ground will intervene if necessary.”
Hunter-B’s much-anticipated first flight could signal the beginning of a long development that could end with the Russian air force operating fighter-style stealth drones.
A flying wing similar in shape to the U.S. Air Force’s B-2 stealth bomber, Hunter-B in theory could penetrate enemy defenses to deliver ordnance.
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The subsonic Hunter-B is in the same class as China’s Tian Ying drone, the U.S. Air Force’s RQ-170 surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle, the U.S. Navy’s experimental X-47B UAV and Boeing’s X-45C drone demonstrator.
It’s unclear how many Hunter-B prototypes exist. At least one was on the flight line when Russian president Vladimir Putin on May 14, 2019 visited the 929th Chkalov State Flight-Test Center in Russia’s Astrakhan region.
Commercial satellite imagery confirmed the Hunter-B drone’s presence at Chkalov alongside various other warplane types, including the Yak-130 trainer and several version of the Su-30 multi-role fighter. Continue reading about the Hunter-B drone.
Source: The National Interest