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Russian Navy to get Altius UAV.

| 2019

The Navy will get a specialized version of Altius drone  for reconnaissance and guidance provision. An attack option is being considered. Due to a major range Altius can detect targets at a distance of thousands of kilometers from the Russian coast. Experts believe the super long-range aviation will provide new capabilities to the Russian Navy, the Izvestia daily writes.

Russian Navy to get Altius drone Altius-U during its first fly (Picture source: Russian MoD)

Navy sources told the newspaper the decision to develop seaborne Altius was made in early 2019. The military are designing tactical and technical requirements. Two Altius options are planned - reconnaissance and attack. The former will have super-long radars and optical-electronic systems. The latter will be armed with an antiship missile.

Altius is the biggest Russian drone. It made the maiden flight in late August. The wing span is 28.5 meters, the length is 11.6 meters, and the takeoff weight is close to seven tons. The drone can patrol an area for 48 hours at an altitude of 12 thousand meters with a cruising speed of 150-200 km/h. The radius is close to 10 thousand km.

New radars and optical-electronic systems provide a round view of the water surface and airspace at a major distance.

The drones are very important for the Navy, former Navy Chief-of-Staff Admiral Valentin Selivanov believes. "The Navy will easily find an engagement for Altius, mostly in reconnaissance. Drones can engage in most dangerous missions without risking human life. Besides, any drone is cheaper than a jet or helicopter, but is more effective, as it has a low radar signature and flies for a long time. It can monitor a broad area and transmit information in real time. Such reconnaissance will precisely classify targets," he said. The drone transmits an image with coordinates. It can provide guidance to coastal missiles, aviation, warships and submarines. The Navy will be able to deliver effective strikes, the admiral said.

A special operation was previously necessary to reconnoiter a sea area. A group of submarines or warships sailed at a major distance and searched for the adversary. Drones will simplify the mission as they can survey areas in a short time.

The new drone can engage in a whole range of reconnaissance missions due to optical, electronic and radar devices. It can independently find targets at sea and in coastal waters and guide various weapons in real time and monitor strike results.

The military and designers are considering to use Altius as a reconnaissance-attack drone. In future, it will be able to strike at sea and ground targets with guided and unguided bombs and missiles. It will help fight various sea targets, including destroyers, cruisers and even aircraft carriers.

The drone is distinguished by the ability to be controlled via a satellite channel which makes its operational radius practically unlimited.

Strategic drones offer a good alternative to naval reconnaissance aviation as they control the situation on a major sea theater, expert Dmitry Boltenkov said. "At present the Navy has a complicated situation with reconnaissance aviation. The Soviet Navy had a big number of Tu-16R and Tu-95RT reconnaissance aircraft. They monitored the whole World Ocean. Thus, in 1982, they flew to Falkland Islands to monitor the fight between the British and the Argentinians. Today, US Global Hawk reconnaissance drones constantly fly near Crimea. Now the naval reconnaissance aviation can be born anew. Long-range drones can take Russian scouts close to Alaska. If the drones are deployed in Kamchatka they will rapidly expose the location of US warships," he said.

The attack Altius option is likely to appear in the near future and will be armed with Kh-35 antiship missile, the Izvestia said.

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