New images have surfaced of Russia’s alleged Sukhoi “Okhotnik” (or “Hunter) heavy strike drone on a runway, taken at an undisclosed location, Popular Mechanics reports.
Officials have yet to confirm the legitimacy of the images that first surfaced on Russian social media site VK.
Earlier pictures date back to July 2017. Russian news agency TASS reported that first taxi, ground run, and acceleration tests took place in November. A first test flight is slated for later this year.
Unmanned Stealth Jet
The Okhotnik has been in development since 2011 when Russia’s aircraft design house Sukhoi signed the contract with the Russian government.
The sleek aircraft is clearly built for stealth, but its engine nozzle is exposed as seen in the pictures, Popular Mechanics points out — stealth aircraft are usually outfitted with special exhausts that can reflect radar signals.
The unmanned drone will be fully autonomous, meaning that it will carry out missions all by itself without any human interaction. Except for, of course, approval for the use of its on board weapons.
International Arms Race
The development of capable heavy strike drones is progressing quickly around the world, and more nations are likely to show off their own unmanned military aircraft in the future.
READ MORE: Is This Russia’s ‘Hunter’ Stealthy Flying Wing Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle? [The Drive]