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Russia Tests Altius-U Long-Range Military Drone


Russia Tests Altius-U Long-Range Military Drone


Russia’s latest reconnaissance drone Altius-U weighing 6 tonnes has successfully completed its debut flight trial, the Defense Ministry of Russia said, as per reports from TASS.

A statement from the ministry says, “The flight lasted 32 minutes at an altitude of up to 800 meters in a fully automatic mode at one of testing aerodromes. All the drone’s systems operated normally”.

Russia’s Defense Ministry’s YouTube page features a video of the reconnaissance drone’s debut flight. The footage shows a twin-engine large drone with a V-shaped tail performing its maiden flight. The video shows the drone speeding up along the runway of a military aerodrome and making its flight. The video footage also shows the drone performing manoeuvres in the air with the non-retracted landing gear and making a landing. The drone’s board number is 881.

‘Altius-U’ weighs 6-ton drone and is meant to be a high-endurance reconnaissance platform. It can stay in flight for more than 24 hours and has a satellite uplink for control, allowing it to be piloted from a great distance. Corroborating this fact the ministry statement says, “The Altius-U features a satellite control channel, which makes the radius of its employment actually unlimited.”

The drone is alternatively called Altair and has been in the works for quite some time. The project was launched in 2011 and initially faced a bumpy road till it finally took off. Last year the contract was taken away from its original builder in Kazan over delays. It was then awarded to a Yekaterinburg-based subsidiary of the defence giant Rostec for completion.

The Altius-U is the drone’s final conceptual design after the tests of several prototypes, the Defense Ministry said. The ministry’s official statement further specifies, “The system is capable of accomplishing a whole range of reconnaissance assignments, employing optical, radio-technical and radar equipment and staying in the air for over 24 hours. The drone weighs about 6 tonnes”.

Altius-U is said to be the final design that came out of the project so far. Earlier reports said it may be lightly armed when finally entering service. It was not immediately clear if a strike modification is still on the table.

Russia’s Altius-U boasts an “entire spectrum of reconnaissance tasks using optical, radio and radar means” in addition to its flight time of more than 24 hours, the Defense Ministry additionally said.

Earlier this month another Russian heavy drone called Okhotnik (‘Hunter’ in Russian) made its maiden flight. That aircraft is meant to be a ground attack platform and has a flying wing body type. It seems like every next week the Russian military has a new drone airborne.

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Cite this article as: Phillip Smith, "Russia Tests Altius-U Long-Range Military Drone," in, August 22, 2019,

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