MOSCOW — The Russian military says a heavy drone it’s developing has made a successful maiden flight.
The Defense Ministry on Wednesday released a video showing the Okhotnik (Hunter) taking off, performing maneuvers and landing. The ministry has said that the drone, which has advanced reconnaissance and stealth capabilities, first flew for 20 minutes Saturday.
"It is sometimes hard to tell which claims Russian officials believe and which are merely rhetoric,” one observer of Russian defense policy said.
The wedge-shaped heavy drone developed by the Sukhoi company is a major leap compared to other unmanned aerial vehicles previously developed in Russia. The project has been veiled in secrecy, but Russian media reports claimed that the new drone weighs 20 tons loaded and has a range of up to 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles).
The single-engine Okhotnik bears a visual resemblance to Lockheed Martin U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel drone.