Russia's defence ministry has released footage of the maiden flight of the Altius-U UAV, a large twin-engined type with a stated endurance of over 24 hours.
The flight lasted 32 minutes and reached an altitude of 800m, according to Russian media reports, quoting Russia's defence ministry. The location of the first flight was not stated.
The footage shows the aircraft taking off, flying a short sortie, and landing. In-flight footage is provided by a chase aircraft and cameras mounted on the wingtips, in the V-shaped tail, and below the fuselage. The landing gear of the aircraft, designated 881, is not retracted during the flight.
According to state news agency Tass, the aircraft "operated normally" during the sortie.
The 6t aircraft is designed for reconnaissance roles using optical and electronic sensors. Satellite communications allow it to operate at great distances from controllers.
In 2013, FlightGlobal reported that Tatarstan-based Sokol and St Petersburg-based Tranzas won a 1 billion rouble ($33 million) contract in 2011 to develop a 5t-class medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV provisionally named Altius and a 1t-class system called Inokhodyets (Wanderer).
Sokol Aircraft Plant is responsible for aircraft construction and the supply of ground systems, while Tranzas was to develop control systems and electronics.
The Altius-U's maiden flight closely follows the same milestone for the Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik flying wing UAV.
The S-70 flight took place on 3 August, according to state-owned news agency TASS. The location of the initial liftoff was not disclosed by the Russian ministry of defence, who on 7 August published video online of the event.
The first flight of the Okhotnik, or “Hunter”, UAV lasted more than 20min. The aircraft made several flights over an airfield at an altitude of about 2,000ft, after which it successfully landed, says the ministry. The video released online shows a grey camouflage aircraft taxing on a tarmac, taking off, making several banked turns with its landing gear extended, before touching down on the runway again.