On August 20, the Ministry of Defense spoke about the start of flight tests of Altius-U UAV. This sample is the end result of the Altair program, created after a series of preliminary studies and the development of several prototypes. The final appearance of the unmanned aircraft complex is determined, which meets the requirements of the customer and available technologies.
The flight was performed in automatic mode. The experienced Altius-U took off on its own, walked along the given route and landed. The flight lasted 32 minutes. Selected moments of these tests were included in a demo video published by the military.
The following months are planned to be used to carry out the necessary flight tests, according to the results of which the UAV will be able to receive a recommendation for adoption. The deadlines for the completion of these works and the receipt of Altius-U in the series have not yet been announced.
On August 22, the Ministry of Defense published new data on the progress of another project in the field of unmanned aviation - "Outpost-R." Such messages were illustrated with a video recording of a test flight of a new machine. It was a completely localized and modernized version of the Forpost UAV already available in the troops. Tests of the updated complex were planned for this year, and they were able to start on time.
According to the results of modernization, “Outpost-R” retains only the outer contours of the airframe, while the internal equipment undergoes fundamental changes. The device retains all its functions, but now shows higher flight performance. In addition, dependence on imported components is sharply reduced.
There is already a contract for serial production of Forpost-R UAVs. The first complexes of this type will have to enter the troops next year. The Ural Civil Aviation Plant, while producing the Outposts of the previous version, was selected as the contractor.
"Altius-U" and "Outpost-R" are intended for patrolling in designated areas for a long time. A special tactical role affects the organization of their service. According to recent reports, special units will be formed to operate new equipment.
The appearance of new detachments of long-range reconnaissance UAVs on 24 September was reported by the Izvestia publication. The first such unit will appear as part of the Western Military District. It is deployed at the Shatalovo airport in the Smolensk region. It is expected that the deployment of drones at this base will ensure the presence of the necessary forces and assets in the western strategic direction.
Initially, the UAV detachment at the Shatalovo airfield will be equipped with Forpost-R unmanned aerial systems. This is likely due to the high degree of readiness of such an UAV and the early start of the supply of serial equipment. Later, the detachment is waiting for rearmament. Outposts-R will be replaced with newer Altiuses-U. The latter have higher tactical and technical characteristics, which should increase the potential of the detachment.
The goals and objectives of the new Izvestia detachment are reconnaissance in the interests of the ground forces and aerospace forces. According to data from unmanned scouts, the army will be able to effectively plan various actions, up to delivering strikes using the latest weapons. In addition, the striking means of the squad will be Altius-U UAVs capable of carrying various weapons.
The inclusion of unmanned systems in the general contours of command and control is expected. The integration of UAVs in automated control systems will simplify the conduct of various operations and provide other advantages. The deployment of drones in the long run will allow you to abandon the aging reconnaissance aircraft. When the Su-24MP develop their life, their functions will be transferred to the Altius-U devices.
Most likely, the detachment of distant UAVs in the ZVO will be the first, but not the last of its kind. With the serial production and supply of necessary equipment, such units can be formed in other districts. This will obviously increase the combat effectiveness of troops in all strategic directions.
The new Outpost-R UAV is a revised version of the base Outpost, which, in turn, was a licensed version of the Israeli-designed IMI Searcher product. The new project with the letter "R" provides for the redesign of the design and internal equipment in order to exclude dependence on foreign components. In addition, it was possible to obtain an increase in some characteristics.
"Outpost-R" saves the dimensions and weight of its predecessor. The solution to the same problems is provided. The UAV is capable of flying up to 16-18 hours. The maximum speed reaches 200 km / h. Range increased to 500 km. The device carries optoelectronic equipment, radar or other means of observation and detection. Data from such funds is transmitted in real time to the operator.
Altius-U is a larger and heavier vehicle with a take-off mass of the order of 6 t and a payload of approx. 1 t. The machine has two piston engines and carries a substantial supply of fuel. The estimated duration of the patrol reaches 48 hours. The UAV is connected to the operator panel via satellite channels, which makes the range of the complex practically unlimited.
A heavy drone is capable of carrying optical, radio engineering or radar detection means. It is also planned to equip it with outboard missile or bomb weapons - to strike at ground targets. Probably, Altius-U will be the first heavy UAV in the arsenal of the Russian army, capable of attacking designated targets.
The appearance of the Outpost-R UAV will not give the army fundamentally new opportunities, but will simplify the solution of existing tasks from a tactical and operational point of view. Gradually, such a technique will be able to replace the older “Outposts” of the basic modification, but over the next years, two types of UAVs will be used in parallel.
Of much greater interest is the introduction and development of Altius-U devices. This will be the first domestic reconnaissance and strike UAV of a modern appearance, which will lead to obvious consequences. With the help of such equipment, the army will be able to conduct continuous monitoring of various objects, and, if necessary, strike them. All this will simplify the organization of combat work, as well as reduce the need for the use of manned aircraft, reducing risks for it.
The "outposts" of the first version have been in service for quite some time and solve the tasks. In particular, such equipment is actively used in Syria and makes a significant contribution to the fight against terrorism. Next year, a new squad of drones equipped with an improved material part will appear in the ZVO. Then such complexes will go to units of other military districts, including newly formed.
In the more distant future, the army will receive the first Altius-U reconnaissance and strike vehicles, and with them new combat capabilities. It is important that this will be the first, but not the last example of this kind. Work is already underway on new UAV models with reconnaissance and strike capabilities - they will reach the series later.