MOSCOW – The Russian Defense Ministry has released a video of the first six-tonne Altius-U unmanned aerial vehicle that can be in the air for more than a day. The little over a minute-long video was posted on Russia’s MoD YouTube channel, showing the drone flying, maneuvering in the air, as well as landing. The drone is powered by a turboprop engine, which was chosen over a jet engine. This decision is mainly due to better stealth characteristics (less likely to be caught by infrared tracking systems), easier maintenance, less noise, better range, and lower flight costs.
The flight lasted 32 minutes at an altitude of 800 meters, in fully automatic mode. The Defense Ministry report noted that all aircraft systems worked as planned. The system is capable of carrying out a full range of reconnaissance missions, using optical, communication and radar tools, and the drone can be in the air for more than a day.
A special feature of the system is the use of a satellite control channel, which makes its application radius almost unlimited. The ministry also stated Altius-U was the result of the development and testing of several prototypes and is designed to conduct the entire range of intelligence missions with an optical, radio, and radar payload.