Altius is not a combat drone right?
It is a UAV unarmed drone in its current form, but if you want to send it into hostile airspace where the enemy has a mature and capable air force you need to give it some ability to defend itself or you might as well just not bother.
FAB-50 is a bomb too small to house guidance.
Sat nav guidance can be as small as a smart phone and would be accurate enough for most targets.
External pylons having beam riding missiles are a possibility but Altius is probably not built to carry too much of weapons.
400-700kgs is not that much.
I would compare Altius more to Global Hawk.
Meaning its main weapons are Altitude, Range and endurance.
Your comparison is irrelevant... who cares what western UAV the Altius most looks like or is most comparable in terms of its role? How will that protect it from being shot down by an F-16?
And regarding the US shooting down the vehicle...
Not gonna happen...
Why? Because they know perfectly well that when they want to attack ISIS targets in Syria they have to pass Syrian Airdefense zones... SAA would have retaliated on USAF if they shoot one of their UAVs...
If the UAV is effective and aides Syria in dealing with its rebel problem... ISIS and US supported rebels, then don't you think the US might decide to get more involved?
One way of escalating the situation would be to shoot down a UAV and then "defend" itself from the air defence forces that retaliate. A great way to start an air campaign.
A UCAV with the ability to deal with targets as it finds them (ie FAB-50 and Krisantema/Kornet-EM) and also some ability to engage enemy aircraft (R-73 or Igla or R-77M) is more valuable than one that relies on altitude.
Personally i don't think this Chirok thing is not much of a game changer.
An unmanned aerial vehicle that can land on any relatively flat surface that can carry up to two people or quite a bit of ammo/weapons/food/water/fuel would be very useful for special ops groups behind enemy lines, or troops at outposts/bases.
Russians needs to focus more on Strategic reconnaisance vehicles rather than tactical ones.
Strategic UAVs are over rated... Russia has no global empire to oversee like the US does...
I think Russia already has lots of small tactical UAVs with low endurance, small range and low cost.
Small tactical ones... they have a few, but medium and heavy drones would also be very useful too.
But they need to gather Strategic intelligence.
Most of the time satellites are better.
If for example America releases its new destroyer the same days Russian UAV has to fly over.... the same goes with introducing eny new technology or puttin into action new military installation like ABM radar, ABM missile site and so on.
Satellites fly over every 90 minutes or so, but Russian UAVs wont be allowed over US airspace in my lifetime...
Moscow badly needs eyes and ears in the sky... everything to achieve most accurate assesment of NATO capabilities. These are exactly the missions HALE and MALE vehicles are perfect for.
Exactly what they are useless for... there is no way they would be ignored in NATO airspace.
And unfortunately because of technology gap, Moscow is playing the catchup now...
Because of the delay Moscow doesn't have to waste time with dead end directions because they can learn from the mistakes of others and avoid wasting money.
What is this catch up crap?
Moscow doesn't need to murder people in Pakistan... they don't need the tools of a torture loving evil empire like the US.
This is what drives me crazy because if it wasnt for that idiot Serdyukov with his lapdog Popovkin that was (god thank you...) kicked out of Roscosmos because of his incompetence, UAV industry in Russia would have been in much better shape than it is...
Their UAV industry is fine... what is the hurry?