Russian stealth fighters can control UAV swarms
Su-57 fighter displayed at the Army 2022 International Military-Technical Forum on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia in August 2022. Photo: RIA Novosti

The Russian military developed a tiny UAV that was launched and controlled by the Su-57 stealth fighter to more effectively penetrate enemy air defense networks.

“The Russian military has successfully developed a new multi-role mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) model for the Su-57 fighter jet. This UAV is stored in the fuselage compartment or external mount of the fighter and can be launched from anywhere. in the air. Su-57 can deploy many UAVs at the same time and control their flight paths,” RIA Novosti said on November 28, citing knowledgeable sources.

Sources say this UAV model can be used for attack, reconnaissance, or electronic warfare missions. When deployed in large numbers, UAVs can penetrate enemy air defense systems by overloading information channels or focusing on a specific point of the defense layer, combined with firepower from combat. Su-57 stealth engine. The Russian Ministry of Defense has not commented on the information.

In April 2021, a source in the Russian aviation industry said that the Su-57 fighter will have its hardware and software upgraded to be able to control many small UAVs at the same time. The source also revealed that Russia is building a facility to test how UAVs interact with fighter jets.

According to Guy McCardle, editor at the military website SOFREP, launching a UAV while a fighter is flying at high speed is a potentially risky action, because the UAV can be destroyed due to air turbulence.

However, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in 2020 successfully launched the X-61A Gremlin UAV from a flying transport, although it could not be recovered later because the UAV had problems and fell into the sea. In 2017, three US F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters also successfully launched a total of 103 Pedrix UAVs while in the air.

“Based on this information, I think it is feasible for Russia to implement a similar project,” said McCardle.

The Su-57 is Russia’s 5th generation multi-role stealth fighter designed to destroy all types of targets in the air, on land, and at sea. The Su-57 is covered with radar-absorbing material and has an optimal design for stealth against electronic reconnaissance equipment.

This is a fighter model that is said to be able to compete with the US F-22, F-35, and Chinese J-20, but Russia has not yet put it into mass production for the military.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said last August that the Su-57 had demonstrated “high self-defense capabilities against many enemy air defense and missile systems” when participating in the war in Ukraine, but did not specify whether it had What kind of weapon to use? British intelligence said earlier this year that Russia had deployed Su-57 fighters in Ukraine since last year, but usually only launched long-range missiles to attack targets.