that of Russia Hunter-B Killer Drone dropped a bomb in a very first test for the type. The test bombing underlines the rapid development of the Hunter-B.
In tests on the Ashuluk Range in southern Russia, the Sukhoi-made Hunter-B – a 46-foot-long jet-powered flying wing – dropped a 1,100-pound unguided bomb from its internal bay , according to state press organization TASS.
“The latest sighting and navigation system installed on the Hunter allows free-falling ammunition to be used with an accuracy close to that of a high-precision guided weapon,” a source told TASS.
It is not known how the testers controlled the drone during its bombardment. The Hunter-B may be controlled remotely by radio.
According to Samuel Bendett, a researcher at the CNA in Virginia, the drone will eventually be equipped with artificial intelligence giving it a high degree of autonomy. The Hunter-B “should be able to autonomously strike fixed and moving ground targets with previously known coordinates, including upon receiving an external target designation in the air.”
While the bomb from the recent test was unguided, the Hunter-B should ultimately be compatible with guided ammunition. In a previous test, the drone carried, but did not fire, air-to-air missiles.
The Kremlin plans to deploy the Hunter-B as a “loyal wing” for the Su-57 piloted stealth fighters. US Air Force is developing similar wing drone under high priority Skyborg program.
The Hunter-B, which first flew in August 2019, is progressing rapidly in development. The brief but bloody war between Armenia and Azerbaijan last fall, in which Azeri drones quickly destroyed Armenian tanks, motivated the Kremlin to speed up the Hunter-B program and other programs of drones.
The Hunter-B “is under scrutiny to deliver results on time and even ahead of schedule,” Bendett said.