A new attack drone will be created by Sukhoi by 2018. The drone is currently under development. The new attack drone will weigh at least 20 tons. According to experts, Russia has the potential of creating the most advanced UAVs, but there are some problems.
The UAV being developed by Sukhoi will be based on technical solutions of fifth-generation fighter T -50. Work in this area is conducted by several firms. For example, "Sokol" experts plan to complete the creation of the UAV whose weight does not exceed five tons by 2015-2016.
"Transas" company has been working on a one-ton drone since 2011. The developers are hurried by the Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Experts believe that Russia is not lagging behind in this area. "From the point of view of theory, engineering and design ideas, we are not in the last place in the world," the vice -president of the Russian Academy of Geopolitical Issues Vladimir Anokhin told Pravda.ru.
According to him, "the Israelis who former Minister of Defense Anatoly Serdyukov would like to purchase drones from, use metal in their UAVs. "Our scientists were the first, in fact, the only ones to create a UAV made from composite materials, which will enable them to not only be lighter and more durable, but also unreachable for the air defense radars," he said.
"We have wonderful teams that have spent decades working on this," said Vladimir Anokhin. "But we do not have enough hands. We do not have the industrial base, we do not have skilled workers who could produce a massive amount of those drones that we need so much now."
"Indeed, due to a number of reasons, the development of unmanned aerial vehicles in Russia has been somewhat neglected. Currently, the Ministry of Defense of Russia is working to remedy this situation by initiating and funding a program to create a range of UAVs of different types and class," Denis Fedutinov, a Russian expert in the field of unmanned systems, told Pravda.Ru.
According to him, in the absence of official comments from both the developers and the military, the characteristics of the currently developed devices can be discussed only tentatively.
"The niche of MALE-class UAVs is currently occupied by the projects implemented by "Transas" and "Sokol." This means that we are obviously talking about a larger UAV, that is likely comparable in terms of weight and size with the parameters of the projects of Boeing (Phantom Ray) and Northrop Grumman (X-47B)," said the expert.
"In addition, we know that the prototype of an attack drone "Scat" shown by "MiG" a few years ago at one of MAKS airshows had a declared take-off weight of 10 tons. I think "Sukhoi" company that, compared to "MIG," so to speak, performed in a heavier weight category, will offer a heavy drone with a possible take-off weight of about 20 tons," said Denis Fedutinov.
Responding to a question about the purpose of such drones, he said that a parallel with the aforementioned U.S. attack drone programs created for pinpoint strikes on various stationary and moving targets both on land and at sea during periods when the opponent has a working air defense system was possible.
According to Vladimir Anokhin, "this is an opportunity to expand the capabilities of the Air Force and aviation as a whole."
"Drones can be sent to combat zones, to explore and carry out regular observations, without risking human lives. This is the next step in the development of aviation that has future," concluded the expert.