The newest large Russian UAV can be clearly seen on aerospace photos of the Google Maps web mapping service application, the Military Russia informational website reported. According to the website, the photos were taken at the Kazan Aviation Factory (a branch of the Tupolev JSC). Presumably, the UAV is the Russian Altius-M (Altair) newest secret reconnaissance drone, capable to boast of its large duration of the flight.
The photos are dated 25th of September 2014. So, we can conclude that at that time, the Altair were preparing to flight tests or have already passed them.
It is known that the Altius-M (Altair) was jointly developed by the Kazan enterprise and the St. Petersburg company after they won a competition of the Russian Defense Ministry on creation of an UAV in the weight class of about 5 tons in 2011. According to a contract, the developers received about one billion rubles (about $35 million according to the exchange rate of 2011) for creation of the Altius-M.
The newest secret UAV is entirely made of composite materials and has a takeoff weight of up to five tons. The length of the Altair is about 11.6 meters, the wingspan – about 28.5 meters, the span of the V-tail – about 6 meters. The aerial vehicle is equipped with two RED A03 / V12 diesel engines, which have a takeoff power of about 500 horsepower and are equipped with airscrews. The flying range of the Altius-M is about 10,000 kilometers, the flight duration is up to 48 hours.
Supposedly, the Altair is equipped with a station of optical imagery intelligence with an optoelectronic system, based on a gyro-stabilized platform, while a side-looking position-radar station with an active phased antenna array is mounted in the forebody.