During recent exercises, the crew of a Russian Tu-95MS strategic bomber practiced in-flight guidance of an unmanned aerial vehicle from the cockpit.
This was reported by TASS, citing an unnamed source.
“Recently, flight tests were carried out, during which the interaction of the Tu-95MS with the drone was worked out, that is, the drone was controlled from the aircraft,” the source said.
He clarified that for these tests, a combatant Tu-95MS was involved, retrofitted with special equipment to control the drone.
According to the source, such interaction in the future may find application for additional reconnaissance of the location of moving targets when the strategic bomber is already in the air. It is also possible to use the drone as a decoy air target to divert enemy aircraft and air defense forces from the aircraft itself.
The anonymous source did not specify which drone was involved in the tests. He also did not confirm whether such tests were carried out with the Hunter heavy shock stealth drone, but did not rule out the possibility of such tests in the future.
“The main thing is to work out the interaction, and it doesn’t matter what the machines will be,” he stressed.
Every year on December 23, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation celebrate a memorable date – the Day of Long-Range Aviation of the Russian Air Force.
It was introduced in 1999 by order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force (Air Force) Anatoly Kornukov.
Long-range aviation of the Air Force is part of the Aerospace Forces of the Russian Federation and is a strategic reserve of the Supreme High Command and one of three (along with the Strategic Missile Forces and Strategic Naval Forces) components of Russia’s Strategic Nuclear Forces.
On August 12 of this year, in an interview with the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Lieutenant General Sergei Dronov, said that the Russian Defense Ministry plans to provide crews of combat aircraft with the ability to control drones in the future.
Russia’s Okhotnik heavy attack drone developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau performed its debut flight on August 3, 2019.
The flight lasted over 20 minutes under an operator’s control. On September 27, 2019, the Okhotnik performed a flight together with a Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet. The drone maneuvered in the air in the automated mode at an altitude of around 1,600 meters and its flight lasted over 30 minutes.
The Okhotnik features stealth technology and the flying wing design (it lacks the tail) and has a take-off weight of 20 tonnes. The drone has a jet engine and is capable of developing a speed of around 1,000 km/h.
According to the data of Russia’s Defense Ministry, the drone has anti-radar coating and is outfitted with equipment for electro-optical, radar and other types of reconnaissance.
Additionally, on December 22nd, Russian and Chinese bombers flew a joint patrol mission over the Western Pacific.
The Russian military said that a pair of its Tu-95 strategic bombers and four Chinese H-6K bombers flew over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that the joint mission was intended to “develop and deepen the comprehensive Russia-China partnership, further increase the level of cooperation between the two militaries, expand their ability for joint action and strengthen strategic stability.”
The ministry added that the patrol flight “wasn’t directed against any third countries.”
Earlier, in October, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the idea of a future Russia-China military alliance can’t be ruled out — a signal of deepening military cooperation between Moscow and Beijing amid growing tensions in their relations with the United States.
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