Russia's Su-57 fighter is being prepared to simultaneously carry multiple drones for attack, reconnaissance and electronic warfare functions effectively upgrading the aircraft to a sixth-generation stealth jet.
This will make it the first fighter jet in the world to be equipped with multiple drones to meet different mission profiles and put in direct competition with the sixth-generation fighters under development in the U.S. and Europe which are being designed to carry drones for various missions.
Mini-drones designed for the Russian Su-57 fifth-generation fighter will be carried on board, with the capability to be launched from an external sling or an intra-fuselage compartment.
"Mini-UAVs for various purposes have been created for the Su-57, which the aircraft can carry on an external sling and in the intra-fuselage compartment and be dropped in the air. It is planned that the fighter will launch several drones at once and control this group of drones," an informed source was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.
The Su-57 is planned to deploy multiple drones simultaneously, controlling them as a group. The mini-UAVs serve various purposes, including attack, reconnaissance, and electronic warfare. This deployment strategy aims to disrupt enemy air defenses by overloading information channels and delivering concentrated strikes on systems, including both drones and weapons from combat aircraft.
The potential deployment of multiple drones from the underwing pylons and internal weapons bay of a stealth fighter has been mentioned in a patent filing before the Russian Patent Office by the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) which was revealed last week. “The invention relates to a multifunctional two-seat stealth tactical aircraft and is intended to detect and destroy air, surface and ground targets at super and subsonic flight speeds in a wide range of altitudes, as well as acting as an airborne command post for network-oriented operations involving mixed groups of manned and unmanned aircraft,” the abstract of the patent document says.
Su-57, a fifth-generation multirole fighter, utilizes stealth technologies and advanced electronics, boasting supersonic cruising speed and high maneuverability. Serial deliveries of the Su-57 began in 2022, with the Aerospace Forces expected to receive 76 aircraft by 2027 under the current state armament program.