Second in a month: Watch new Russian heavy drone take to the sky in MAIDEN FLIGHT

Second in a month: Watch new Russian heavy drone take to the sky in MAIDEN FLIGHT Another week, another Russian drone makes its first successful take-off. The defense ministry published footage of the maiden flight of a high-endurance reconnaissance UAV called Altius-U.

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The footage shows a twin-engine large drone with a V-shaped tail performing its maiden flight. According to the ministry statement, the aircraft spent just over 30 minutes in the air and performed both the take off and landing in automatic mode.

Dubbed ‘Altius-U’ by the ministry, the 6-ton drone is meant as a high-endurance reconnaissance platform. It can stay in flight for more than 24 hours and has a satellite uplink for control, allowing it to be piloted from a great distance.

The drone is alternatively called Altair and has been in the works for quite some time. The project was launched in 2011 and had a bumpy road to finally taking off. Last year the contract was stripped from its original builder in Kazan over delays and was awarded instead to a Yekaterinburg-based subsidiary of the defense giant Rostec to complete.

Earlier this month another Russian heavy drone called Okhotnik (‘Hunter’ in Russian) made its maiden flight. That aircraft is meant to be a ground attack platform and has a flying wing body type.

Altius-U is said to be the final design that came out of the project so far. Earlier reports said it may be lightly armed when finally entering service. It was not immediately clear if a strike modification is still on the table.

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