The Sokol Altius us a heavy-class combat drone of Russian origin, the program established in 2011 with a first-flight undertaken in 2016 and serial production having begun in 2021. The type is designed to satisfy a Russian requirement for an unmanned Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) air vehicle for use as a direct-combat platform or special-mission solution with an eye towards airborne Electronic Warfare (EW). The aircraft is designed and manufactured by Sokol OKB of Russia.
Externally, the aircraft is of conventional twin-engine arrangement with each prop-driven nacelle slung under the shoulder-mounted mainplanes. The mainplanes are straight in their general shaping and positioned near midships, freeing the centralized, slab-sided fuselage for avionics, fuel, and mission packs. The tail unit relies on a V-style plane arrangement with the vertical fins being canted out from centerline. Composite materials allow for some weight-savings in what is a structurally large design comparable to the American Northrop Grumman "Global Hawk" line (detailed elsewhere on this site).
Originally, the series was slated to be driven by French-designed engines manufactured locally under license. However, this was eventually changed to use locally-sourced Russian engines instead.
To date (2022), three airframes in the series have been completed, primarily for testing and state trials. This includes the original "Altair" offering of 2014 followed by the "Altius-M" of 2017. "Altius-U" was then brought online in 2019 to round out the testing phase.
As it stands, the air vehicle has an operational range of 6,200 miles and can fly up to 24 hours up to a ceiling of 39,000 feet. Empty weight is 13,230lb against an MTOW of 17,640lb when carrying a payload of 2,200lb. As an air combat vehicle, the aircraft will have access to various in-service Russian air-dropped / air-launched ordnance including Precision-Guided Munitions (PGMs), missiles, and conventional drop bombs.
May 2018 - Sokol announced that development of the Altius UAV will be completed before the end of the year.
August 2019 - The Sokol Altius has achieved its first flight. Video of the event was released by the Russian Ministry of Defense on August 20th, 2019. The flight lasted some 32 minutes.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
✓Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.
38.1 ft (11.60 m)
93.5 ft (28.50 m)
9,998 lb (4,535 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Sokol Altius production variant)
monoplane / shoulder-mounted / straight
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represent the most popular mainplane arrangement.
Mainplanes are mounted at the upper section of the fuselage, generally at the imaginary line intersecting the pilot's shoulders.
The planform involves use of basic, straight mainplane members.
(Structural descriptors pertain to the base Sokol Altius production variant)
2 x RED A03 V12 diesel-fueled engines developing 500 horsepower each driving three-bladed propeller units in puller arrangement.
Up to two tons of special-mission equipment or air-launched / air-dropped ordnance including missiles, rockets, and bombs.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 4
Altius - Base Series Name.
Altair - Initial flyable prototype of 2014.
Altius-M - Developmental variant of 2017 fitted with optical imagery intelligence and opto-electronic system; side-looking position radar; active phased antenna array.
Altius-U - Developmental variant of 2019; third completed, flyable airframe of the series.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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