Sukhoi develops two-seater Su-57 that can control 4 S-70 Okhotnik B drones

Since its official presentation, the S-70 Okhotnik B heavy combat drone, developed by the Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi, has always presented as an extension of the Su-57 heavy fighter, called to replace the Su-27 within the Russian air force, and to become the technological base of a large number of aircraft, like its predecessor. In fact, the announcement of a two-seater version of the device had been awaited for some time by specialists in the field, as it seemed appropriate to add a crew member to control several drones of this type. This is now done, since the Tass Agency, citing a source from the Ministry of Defense, published an article announcing that a two-seater version of the Su-57 was being designed, in order to allow it to control up to 4 S-70 drones simultaneously, both for air-to-air, air-to-ground or air-to-surface missions.

The Военно-воздушные силы Росси, or VVS, the Russian air force, had already for several years announced their intention to acquire simultaneously a fleet of Su-57s and a fleet of S-70s to carry out the most important missions. demanding, requiring discrete but heavily armed devices. According to the General Staff of the VVS, it was even a question of replacing the Mig-29 light fighters and the Su-25 attack aircraft precisely by Okhotnik B drones acting under the control of Su-57 or ground stations. . Tass's article therefore confirms these statements, as well as entry into service of the heavy drone for 2024, or almost simultaneously with that of the Su-57. Still, many unknowns remain as to the real capabilities, and the missions that will be devolved to this extraordinary couple.

The Su-57 was associated from the start with the S-70 Okhotnik B program

The S-70 Okhotnik B drone is unique in many ways today. Very imposing, this stealthy flying wing has an estimated wingspan of 20 meters. It is also particularly heavy for a combat drone, with a maximum takeoff weight of 20 tonnes, the equivalent of that of a fighter like the Mig-29 or a bomber like the Su-25. If it is not supersonic, it remains capable of reaching high subsonic speeds of nearly 1000 km / h, and would have a range of 3500 km, the same as that of the Su-57 without external tanks. On the armament side, each of its two imposing ammunition bunkers could accommodate up to 2 tonnes of air-to-air or air-to-ground armament. For now, the prototype seems to be powered by an AL41F turbojet engine, but according to Sukhoi's statements, this configuration is only temporary, and a new propulsion solution will be integrated shortly allowing to reduce its thermal footprint and thus increase its stealth.

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