Russian UCAV - MiG Skat

MiG's Skat unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) mockup, first of all, is not a copy of an X-45, X-47, Taranis, Neuron or anything else. So far, nobody's figured out how to make a UAV detect a threat in time to shoot back or evade it, so the only valid approach to survival is all-aspect stealth over the widest possible bandwidth, and an all-wing tailless configuration is still the best way to do that. That's why all UCAVs look like B-2s, because the B-2 design addressed the same problem.

Logos on the weapon bay door show that MiG has quietly assembled a team to put the project together. Its existence is no surprise. MiG general designer Vladimir Barakovskiy was in attendance at IQPC's UCAV conference in London last November and is due to speak at this year's event, where DTI will be the featured media. (DTI does not expect many delegates to be in this old MoD hangout during that paper.) Barakovskiy told DTI at the Paris air show (46-47) that MiG was active in UAVs, including "special mission" types.

Skat appears to have trailing-edge surfaces that are split into upper and lower segments, but it will not be surprising if they are backed up in pitch and yaw by a vectoring nozzle.

Russian stealth technology is very real - Sukhoi's new Su-35 brochure is merely the first marketing reference to what has been known for some time. However, don't expect plasma stealth on this design. It may work inside a radome or at very high altitudes but is not applicable to Skat.

Rather like Neuron, Skat appears to serve several purposes. It gives the designers a chance to integrate an all-new design. It demonstrates stealth and high-performance UAV technologies and explores the problems of internal weapon carriage (so that a production variant doesn't need to go through two bomb-door and tail designs, like the F-117 did). And it puts together a team that can go after manned or unmanned stealth if the requirement emerges.

Designed by the Russian firm Mikoyan, the Skat (Russian: Скат - "Manta Ray") is one of two concept strike UCAV currently being developed for the Russian Defense Ministry. It is a low-observable, subsonic craft meant to carry weapons in two ventral bays large enough for missiles such as the Kh-31. The SKAT is to be powered by a single Klimov RD-5000B turbofan engine, a variant of the RD-93.

Skat has two internal weapons bays, capable of carrying air-to-surface missiles as large as the Kh-31 (AS-17 Krytpon). Possible roles include the suppression and attack of enemy air defenses.The first version of Skat to fly is planned to be piloted in order to meet Russian flight regulations. A number of aerodynamic configurations have been wind-tunnel tested, including with small twin fins. MiG has settled on a tail-less configuration.

The single-engine subsonic design has an 11.5 meter wingspan, and it is 10.25 meters long. The UCAV has a maximum take-off weight of 10 tons, with a maximum speed of 800 kilometers per hour (497 mph) at low altitude. It is intended to carry a combat load of up to two tons, with a combat radius of 2,000 km.


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