The fifth-generation Su-57 fighter will in the near future be able to use mini-UAVs that the aircraft will carry on board. Mini-UAVs for various purposes have already been created, which can be placed both on external suspension and in the intrafuselage compartment, and then dropped in the air. The fighter will launch a group of drones at once and control them, RIA Novosti reported.
The mini-UAVs are directly tasked with carrying out strike operations, reconnaissance and electronic suppression of enemy strike assets. The dropping of dozens of drones by the Su-57 group will ensure a breakthrough of the air defence, overloading its information channels and striking at air defence systems both with the help of drones and with its own means of defeat.
In recent years, the development of drone technology in both civilian and military fields has been growing at a rapid pace. In November 2021, Rostec State Corporation’s Director for International Cooperation and Regional Policy Viktor Kladov said that already in the next decade manned combat aircraft will be gradually replaced by unmanned drones. This is caused not only by the technological advantages of drones, but also by their ability to work in co-operative mode with other drones and manned aircraft.
The State Corporation is actively developing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are able to exchange information and co-operate with Checkmate and Su-57. This opens up new prospects for the creation of a so-called “drone swarm” – a concept in which several drones work together to perform different tasks in combat conditions.
One Su-57 fighter will be able to carry more than a dozen reconnaissance and strike drones and electronic warfare drones in the intrafuselage compartment. The UAVs will interact via secure communication channels both with the carrier aircraft’s onboard system and among themselves. One of the main advantages of this approach is the ability to effectively perform complex tasks that were previously inaccessible to combat aviation. A swarm of drones can perform reconnaissance, attack targets, maintain air superiority and perform other tactical missions.
Earlier, the Federal Service for Intellectual Property granted the United Aircraft Corporation a patent RU2807624 for a two-seat multifunctional aircraft to be used as an airborne control point and to provide interaction between aviation and military formations in network-centric methods of controlling weapons objects on the battlefield. It is assumed that due to a wide range of communication facilities, including satellite, high-speed communication channel and installation of equipment for group transmission of information over long distances, the aircraft will also be used as a control point for unmanned aerial vehicles.