Russia’s unmanned next generation fighter is being based off the MIG Skat Stealth UCAV prototype

Russian designers are proceeding with development of an unmanned “sixth-generation” fighter jet, according to former Air Force chief Pyotr Deinekin.

“The sixth generation of aircraft will most likely be pilotless. Naturally, we are actively working on this, “Deinekin said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

Russian military aircraft maker MiG said in May it was ready to go ahead with a research and development project for an unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) based on its Skat prototype, after signing a deal with the Trade and Industry Ministry.

Mikhail Pogosyan, president of United Aircraft Corporation, the holding that unites the Russian aerospace industry, said last November that Sukhoi would focus on creating reconnaissance and strike unmanned air vehicles (UAV) in the near future.

The Skat is powered by a RD-5000B turbofan engine, which is a modified derivative of the Klimov R-33D, used on the MiG-29 Fulcrum. For the Skat the afterburner was removed and the engines were flattened. The inlets are on the top of the fuselage. It has a maximum thrust of 49,4 kN. So that the Skat is able to reach a top speed of 800 km/h with a maximum take-off weight of 10 tons, at altitude. The Skat is expected to have a service ceiling of 12,000 m and a range of 4000 km.

The Skat will be able to carry 2 tons of armament in two internal weapon bays. It should be equipped with Air-to-Surface missiles, Glide bombs, Cruise missiles and anti-radiation missiles.

United Aircraft Corporation’s president Mikhail Pogosyan revealed plans to produce a prototype of a 20-tonne UCAV by 2018. Pogosyan also revealed that this prototype will be based on the Sukhoi T-50 stealth fighter. Russia has experimented with converting the YAK-130 Trainer and the Berkut VL helicopter into UAVs. But the likelihood of a Russian UCAV fighter prototype emerging anytime soon is questionable.

Russia has been making improvements to its military communications, imagery and GPS satellites. Russia has launched six Meridian communications satellites over the past several years and has continued to make improvements on its GLONASS (global navigation satellite system).

According to RIA Novosti, Russia has more than 100 satellites in orbit with two-thirds of them being military or dual-purpose spacecraft. However, a UAV/UCAV fleet will require a dedicated bandwidth feed.

SOURCES – aircraft wikia, military news, defence report