RUSSIA has unveiled a new stealth combat drone that can fly from Moscow to London undetected to launch attacks.
The Okhotnik, whose name means Hunter in Russian, is thought to capable of evading radar and firing unspecified missiles to a distance of 1,250 miles.
Footage has emerged showing the 20-minute maiden flight of the unmanned craft, whose special coating is said to make it almost undetectable.
As well as combat missions, it is thought to be intended for use in aerial spying.
Once in service with the Russian Air Force, the drone will purportedly be capable of being controlled in the sky from a manned warplane, from ground control, or using its own “brain”.
A source at Sukhoi, the Russian manufacturer who have produced the craft, said: “The possibility is… envisaged for the drone’s completely autonomous flight without the operator’s participation when it takes off, performs its programme and lands only under the control of its own guidance system.”
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The state-of-the-art drone, which lacks a tail wing, has been under secret development for at least eight years.
Despite a takeoff weight of 20 tonnes, it is reported to be “practically invisible to radars” and to have a range of 3,100-miles at a speed of 625mph.
That capability, combined with the 1,250-mile range of its missile system, could make it capable of launching attacks against the mainland United States.
The single-engine drone bears a visual resemblance to Lockheed Martin U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel, but the United States it not currently thought to possess a drone with equivalent capabilities.
The craft is equipped with electro-optical spying, radar, and other types of reconnaissance.
Russian deputy defence minister Alexey Krivoruchko said in May that the Okhotnik was a priority for the Russian military.
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The craft was controlled from the ground at an airfield near Moscow during its recent maiden flight, and flew at just under 2,000 feet.
Footage showed the drone taking off, performing manoeuvres, and landing, and the test was described as a success.
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