A little more detailed information on the Altius-M project began to come in early February of the current 2013. During the visit of Minister of Defense S. Shoigu to Kazan aviation The production association, among other exhibits, demonstrated a model of a promising unmanned vehicle. Almost immediately it became known that it was created in accordance with the current status of the Altius-M project. Then, in a number of sources, approximate information about the new UAV appeared. Unfortunately, there is little data so far, but some conclusions can be drawn from them.
Back in the fall of 2011, a joint project of the Kazan design bureau Sokol and the St. Petersburg-based Transas company called Altius-M won the competition of the Ministry of Defense. He was able to circumvent a similar project of the Russian Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation "MiG". The projects submitted to the competition had similar parameters: take-off weight of up to five tons, the possibility of carrying a certain amount of payload, as well as a long range. The exact characteristics of the UAVs of both projects were not reported, but from the results of the competition it follows that the military recognized the apparatus from Sokol and Tranzas more interesting. According to the results of a competitive comparison, Kazan and St. Petersburg organizations received a contract for one billion rubles, the purpose of which is to complete the development. In addition, prior to 2014-15, the Falcon must build and fly the first Altius-M prototype.
Available information on the requirements of a relatively long range is fully confirmed by the appearance of the new drone. It has a relatively short fuselage, as well as a high wing of high elongation and low sweep. In the tail section of the Altius-M, a V-shaped tail assembly is installed, the two rudders of which are used for pitch and yaw control at the same time. Due to the insufficient quality of photographic materials, it is difficult to speak about the design of ailerons and other wing mechanization. Therefore, for the time being it is necessary to limit oneself to only assumptions: two aileron on the wing consoles and a “clean” center wing. Due to the large lengthening of the wing of the drone, apparently, may not need the means to increase lift.
Interesting power plant of the new UAV. It consists of two turboprop engines located on the center section. Obviously, when choosing such a power plant, several goals were pursued. First, ensuring relatively low fuel consumption (compared to turbojet engines), and secondly, sufficient thrust. In addition, the use of two engines on the wing instead of one in the fuselage may indicate measures taken to reduce vibrations transmitted to the target equipment of an unmanned aerial vehicle, or the banal impossibility of simultaneously entering a power plant and electronics into the fuselage volume. One way or another, this arrangement has its advantages. This is the already mentioned isolation of equipment from vibrations, as well as smaller propellers in comparison with a screw of one engine, the power of which is equivalent to the two used. In this case, you can achieve some weight and overall savings on chassis units.
As for the control systems and target equipment of the Altius-M UAV, almost nothing is known so far. At the stage of completion of the competition, it was said that a number of systems would be unified with a lighter (take-off weight of about one ton) the Pacer, the UAV created by the Sokol design bureau. It is difficult to speak about the target equipment for the reason that it has not yet been announced what the five-ton apparatus is intended for. Judging by the appearance, he must perform reconnaissance tasks, patrolling at a relatively high altitude. This assumption is also supported by the requirement of long range and, as a consequence, the duration of the flight. Thus, as a result, Altius-M can get a stabilized platform for an optical-electronic system and related equipment.
It is worth noting there is another opinion. So, “Vedomosti” quotes an expert in the field of UAVs D. Fedutinov. In his opinion, the main purpose of the Altius-M is to strike at ground targets, which makes it in some way a competitor of foreign cars like the MQ-1 Predator or the MQ-9 Reaper. In this case, in addition to the reconnaissance equipment, the unmanned vehicle will receive a number of means intended for carrying and using weapons. Thus, the payload issue may come to the fore. For example, the American reconnaissance-impact UAV MQ-9 Reaper with a maximum take-off weight per 4700-4800 kilogram can carry over one and a half tons of weapons. What and in what quantity will carry the shock "Altius-M" - is still unknown.
And yet it is still too early to talk about the combat load or the intelligence capabilities of the new drone. At the moment, it seems to exist only in the form of design documentation and one or several layouts. Flight tests will start at least in the 2014 year, which means that the assembly of the first prototype has not even started yet. Moreover, according to the terms of the contract, Transas and Sokol companies should, by the deadline, build and lift into the air only a prototype and technology demonstrator. This nuance of the agreement transparently hints at the fact that, in its current form, Altius-M is just a kind of trial platform designed for the installation of targeted equipment. Perhaps, the customer will decide on the specific composition of the latter only after the first tests, if, of course, the characteristics and prospects of the new UAV will suit him.
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