Russia Touts Drone Swarms and Electromagnetic Cannon for Sixth-Gen Fighter

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February 1, 2017 | Originally published by Date Line: February 1 on

Russian’s sixth-generation fighter jet — still a decade away from reality — will operate in conjunction with drone swarms armed with electromagnetic cannons, an official said.

Vladimir Mikheev, an adviser to the deputy head of Radioelectronic Technologies Concern — part of the Moscow-based state corporation Rostec — this week said the aircraft will be unveiled in 2025, fly a speeds of up to March 4 or 5 and reach near space, according to an article on RT, citing another Russian news agency TASS.

It will also allow a pilot to command between five and 10 nearby drone aircraft — interestingly, with their number and task dependent on the operator’s rank, the article states.

“Depending on the status, he [the pilot] is given several subordinate drones,” Mikheev is quoting as saying. “They, in their turn, understand –– they must protect, for example, lieutenant Petrov. But if colonel Ivanov is in the cockpit, the number of subordinate drones should be more, and so forth.”

The drone aircraft will also be equipped with high-frequency electromagnetic cannons — too powerful for manned aircraft to operate without hurting pilots — designed to knock out enemy radio signals from a distance of about six miles (10 kilometers), according to the article.