Censored/Tass: “Scat” UAV, Russia’s New Invisible Attack Drone

What will be the capabilities of the unmanned aerial vehicle, the development of which has been carried out in the MiG corporation since 2005, in the TASS material

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In 2007, the MAKS airshow was the first to show the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) “Skat”, in the design of which the technology “stealth” was used. His full-scale model, the Russian Aircraft Corporation (RAC) MiG demonstrated outside the territory of the cabin – in the hangar of the flight test and refueling base of the enterprise. This drone then provoked an unprecedented interest among journalists, as well as among the aviation industry specialists and the military themselves. But in 2012, work on this program was suspended, as noted, due to a lack of interest from the Ministry of Defense of Russia.

However, this drone drone has not gone away in the past, like many military projects created by enterprises in an enterprising manner. “The company (RAC” MiG “- TASS comment) has resumed the work on Scatu.The prototype of this jet UAV is planned to be created in the next few years,” a source in the defense industry said, adding that “the Russian military the department was interested in this apparatus. “ In the corporation “MiG” noted that for several years they are working on the creation of UAVs of various types and dimensions, but they did not confirm the information concerning specific developments, referring to the data closeness.

In 2017, at the Dubai Airshow exhibition, the official representative of the corporation Anastasia Kravchenko said that the work is being done to create shock and reconnaissance drones weighing from 1 ton to 15 tons. They will be installed by domestic engines, the creation of which already employs specialists. In August of this year, the head of RAC “MiG” Ilya Tarasenko confirmed information that in the near future the company will demonstrate its developments in an unmanned theme.

“Scat” against “Predator”

The development of UAVs in the world began to be carried out since the late 1950s, but they became a means for conducting military operations only 30 years later. “The field of triumph” was the 1991 military conflict in the Persian Gulf, where the US used several types of unmanned reconnaissance aircraft against Iraq. The use of ADM-141 and other sources, according to open sources, allowed the Americans to detect and then destroy about ten anti-aircraft missile batteries, about 70 vehicles and 300 tanks of the Iraqi army. And for this it took only about 20 sorties.

Of course, against this background, our country looked rather modest. In the 1980s, about 950 Soviet scouts of the Tu-143 were produced, and the unmanned theme almost closed on them.

Unmanned aircraft Tu-143 TASS

Unmanned aircraft Tu-143
© TASS

At present, the United States possesses a large number of UAVs equipped with various weapons systems. For many years, they have been using such drones to solve operational problems anywhere in the world. In particular, MQ-1 Predator drones (“Predator”), capable of carrying guided missiles, were actively used to strike ground targets in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It’s just like the “Predator” looks like a conventional glider, but in reality its possibilities are great: it can be in the air for about 40 hours and at an altitude of up to 4.5 km to conduct electronic reconnaissance, be the “eyes and ears” of infantry and armored vehicles, and also correct the use of precision weapons. Flying over the territory of the enemy, on the orders of the operator from the ground, he can destroy both individual objects (buildings and fortifications), and armored vehicles and even groups of people.

Over the past decade, the Pentagon has often used one of the largest UAVs in the world – RQ-4 Global Hawk, manufactured by the Northrop Grumman Corporation – in military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. It is also known that with the permission of the Ukrainian authorities, drones made, in particular, in 2016, 2017 and 2018 reconnaissance flights along the Crimean Peninsula and the line of demarcation in the Donbass. RQ-4 is able to monitor from a height of up to 18 km in all weather conditions and transmit information in real time. Its maximum take-off mass is 15 tons. It can fly at a speed of 570 km / h for 40 hours and detect targets at a distance of about 550 km.

Such flying percussion robots in the West have long “discovered” the sky. And then the whole thing in the financial component. At a price comparable to a conventional combat fighter, the drones are still cheaper and in some ways even more effective. The training of a military pilot costs a lot of money, and the level of training and professionalism sometimes depends on various factors. It’s easier to leave a person on the ground than to send him into battle. At the same time, the combat drone is ready to work at any time and in any weather, to be in the air for days and not to demand increased attention.

RQ-4 Global Hawk REUTERS / U.S. Air Force / Bobbi Zapka

RQ-4 Global Hawk

Specialists note that Skat is called upon to make up for the absence of heavy strategic vehicles in the unmanned aircraft of Russia. They could be in the air for several days, transmit intelligence and inflict pinpoint hits on the enemy. “Such UAVs flying to the ultimate range are extremely necessary for the Russian army to fight terrorists,” said the military observer of the TASS, Viktor Litovkin. “This fight involves hunting extremists not only in areas where they are concentrated, in training camps, repair shops for military equipment, on the communication nodes and control points, but also during the movement on the roads in a particular territory. “

Often, it is required to immediately realize intelligence or technical (satellite) intelligence data, and there are no search and landing units or groups in this region, and the bandit leaders remain invulnerable. If in this area a drone is hobbled with air-to-surface missiles suspended under its fuselage, this task can be solved in a matter of minutes
Victor Litovkin
military observer of TASS

According to the expert, the UAV can at the moment also be a scout who will find the target and report it to the operator, who is from the scene for thousands of kilometers, and on his command will put a rocket on the object and strike a smashing blow.

"Skat" UAV Nikolai Novichkov / "ARMS-TASS" / TASS

UAV “Scat”
© Nikolay Novichkov / ARMS-TASS / TASS

Also, such drones can be used to strike at control points and communication centers, storage bases for weapons and ammunition in the enemy’s rear area. “It’s true that during the operation the UAV can be detected by radar stations and destroyed by anti-aircraft missiles.To prevent this, it must have on its board and electronic warfare complexes that suppress the radar signal of the radar or divert it away from itself,” believes Litovkin .

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By the way, in the summer of this year it became known that in September, for the first time, another heavy shock UAV – “Hunter” – for the development of Sukhoi Design Bureau, which will become the prototype of the sixth generation fighter, is due to take off. “The main purpose of” Scat “is the same as that of” Hunter “, as well as most of the analogues created in the world, – reconnaissance and strike missions in the conditions of an actively operating modern air defense system of the enemy, when the use of widely used UAV systems, such as American Predator and Reaper, is ineffective, ” said Denis Fedutinov, editor-in-chief of Unmanned Aviation magazine.

The UAV of the Hunter

The contract for development was signed between the Russian Defense Ministry and the Sukhoi Company in 2011, a model for ground testing was created in 2014. At present a prototype has been created at the Novosibirsk plant. According to open data, “Hunter” is made with the use of stealth technology, has an aerodynamic scheme “flying wing”, the take-off mass of the device reaches 20 tons. According to unconfirmed information, UAV has a jet engine and can develop a speed of about 1000 km / h.

Continuation

According to the expert in the field of unmanned aircraft, the interest of the military in “Scat” is connected with the desire to have simultaneously with a heavy UAV a lighter version, which will make it possible to create a more optimal fleet of corresponding systems. “ In this case, according to Fedutinov, “most likely, in Russia, the technologies of group interaction for these two devices will be developed to ensure their” schooling. “However, he added,” this is only one possible scenario for the use of these unmanned vehicles, and the use of the principle “flocks” or “swarms” will be more typical for small UAVs. “

Secret “Skat”

The most common device in the Russian troops is the multipurpose UAV “Orlan-10” (range of flight – 600 km), and the largest – “Outpost”. A drone weighing about 500 kg is manufactured at the Ural Civil Aviation Plant under an Israeli license. It is known that he is capable of reconnaissance from a height of 5 km for 16 hours at a distance of up to 400 km.

The Ministry of Defense of Russia has repeatedly stated that the military is in great need for various types of drones, despite the fact that in the last five years their number in the army has increased significantly. “Today, not a single military conflict is going on without the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, all information and intelligence are being sent by these means.” In the next 10-15 years, this is one of the main trends in the development of weapons systems, “Yuri said in 2016 Borisov, who then held the post of Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation.

Russian multifunctional unmanned complexes Orlan-10 Vadim Savitsky / Press Service of the Russian Defense Ministry / TASS

Russian multifunctional unmanned systems Orlan-10
© Vadim Savitsky / Press Service of the Russian Defense Ministry / TASS

Flight specifications “Scat” official sources do not disclose. Little is known about him. The media wrote that its development began in the RAC “MiG” in an initiative in 2005. After seven years of work on the device were suspended because of a lack of interest on the part of the military.

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However, in 2015, in an interview with the Vedomosti newspaper, Sergei Korotkov (then general director of RAC MiG, now vice-president of innovations of the United Aircraft Corporation – TASS comment), said that corporations had always dealt with such complexes and ” there are patented arrangements and schemes of shock UAVs, which we developed jointly with TsAGI, and this work continues. “ When asked by the journalist whether such works are being initiated, he replied: “No, these are experimental development works financed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, part of the work has already been done, part of it is finished.”

For the first time, “Skat” was presented to a group of journalists at MAKS-2007, and was demonstrated outside the territory of the salon. It was noted that the layout was intended for development of structural and layout solutions, as well as for carrying out assessments and optimizing the characteristics of the apparatus.

The layout of the device was made in the aerodynamic scheme “flying wing” (no tail fins) of a triangular shape and had an air intake of the propulsion system in the bow. Such devices are less visible for enemy radar. As explained at the MAKS-2007, the leaders of the corporation “MiG”, provided for the construction of a flying laboratory-demonstrator for technology development. And it was planned to test it both in manned and unmanned versions. During the tests, the final refinement and demonstration of all UAV technologies, including the use of weapons, were to be carried out.

Unmanned aerial vehicle "Forpost" Anton Novoderezhkin / TASS

Unmanned aerial vehicle “Forpost”
© Anton Novoderezhkin / TASS

It was planned that the maximum take-off mass of the device would be 10 tons, speed – 850 km / h, the flight range – 4000 km. The UAV can carry both missile and bomb weapons in the inside-body compartment. Before the MAKS-2007 prototype, attack weapons were deployed – anti-ship and anti-radar Kh-31A and X-31P missiles, as well as guided missiles with a television guidance system.

In 2008, the media wrote that Klimov for Scat began developing engines based on the non-refreshed modification of the RD-33 turbojet engine. It was noted that this motor with a thrust of about 5000 kgs will allow the UAV to develop a speed of more than 800 km / h from the ground and carry a combat load of up to 2 tons. The practical ceiling will in this case be more than 12 km.

By the way, Skat is practically an external copy of the American X-47V from Northrop Grumman. It was intended to carry out tasks of continuous collection of information, surveillance, reconnaissance and carrying out shock operations from aircraft carriers. It was reported that its combat range is more than 2,700 km, the weight of the internal payload is 2 tons. Only two prototypes were made for testing purposes only. In 2013, the first landing on the deck of the aircraft carrier George Bush, which was in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, was carried out . There was a lot of noise around the U-47 UAV, but the project was never realized. As the American publications wrote , the UAV was abandoned after the US Navy changed its requirements for the shock platform.

X-47B Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Walter / U.S. Navy via Getty Images

X-47B
© Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Walter / US Navy 

According to the developers, the Russian “Skat” will be able to strike both in advance the reconnaissance of stationary targets, first of all – air defense means, and mobile ground and sea targets while conducting autonomous and group operations with piloted planes.

In any case, drone drones, as well as reconnaissance, should work in close connection and in communication with the operator and under his control. The decision to use weapons for reconnaissance or set (planned) purposes is taken by a person. No autonomy or automaticity from the UAV can not be
Victor Litovkin
military observer of TASS

At the ArmHiTec 2018 exhibition in Yerevan, the general director of the NPK “Techmash” (part of Rostekh) Alexander Kochkin said that the company began developing weapons for such drones. “Another of our new directions is the combat load to shock drones, already some work is underway, we are creating samples,” he said.

While the entry into the army of shock drone was not officially confirmed, but in the fall of 2017, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated that such UAVs will be delivered to the Armed Forces in the near future.


Roman Azanov