Russian Army Unveils Amphibious Bomber Drone to Start Production in 2016

A prototype of the Rostec 'Duckling' drone. Igor Generalov/Rostec

Russia has unveiled its first full sized prototype of its military hovercraft drone which will be capable of landing on water. Named 'Chirok', meaning 'duckling', is operational and ready for testing, Russian state news agency Itar-Tass reported on Friday.

The drone will reportedly be tested soon by Russian electronics company Rostec, who were involved in the device's construction.

"Last year we unveiled a miniature mock up of the Chirok, one fifth the size of the real device," a spokesperson for the company said, referring to the presentation of the Chirok's miniature concept at Russia's International Aviation and Space Salon in August.

"The wingspan of the original will be 10 metres," the spokesperson added.

According to Rostec the Chirok will be an amphibious drone, capable of landing on water as well as land. It can fly at a height of up to 6km, can carry more than twice its own weight of 330kg in weight including "rockets and bombs" and will go into mass production in 2016.

A Rostec schematic of the 'Ducking' drone. Rostec

The drone's body is made of carbon composite, while the "durable" inflatable cushion which allows the Chirok to land on water is made from a secret blend of materials which Rostec have not made public.

According to its manufacturers the Chirok can cover 2,500km in a single flight and it is intended to be virtually weather proof.

"The specs of the apparatus are designed for use in heavy conditions, in regions where there are few landing and takeoff spaces," Alexander Yakunin, CEO of Rostec said.

"This machine solves the problems posed by large chunks of our massive country," Yakunin added.

No public statement has been given indicating how many units of the Chirok the Russian military has ordered, however Russia's Ministry of Defence is one of the project's major backers and the country's armed forces have increased their interest in drones of late, announcing construction of an arctic drone base late last year, around 400 miles off the Alaskan coast.