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A large UAV was 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. Experts assume the UAV spotted is the Russian Altius-M, a brand-new top-secret reconnaissance drone, known for its large duration of flight.

In fact, pictures showing the Altius UAV were already revealed inadvertently in February, when they were briefly published by the regional republic of Tatarstan’s government on the website after a visit by Russian defence minister Sergei Shoiguy.

According to southfront.org, the device 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 a UAV in the weight class of about 5 tons in 2011. According to the contract, developers received about $35 million for the project.

The secret UAV is entirely made of composite materials and has a takeoff weight of up to five tons. It’s length is about 11.6 meters and it’s wingspan about 28.5 meters. The aerial vehicle is equipped with two 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, and the flight duration is up to 48 hours.

Supposedly, the Altair is equipped with a station of optical imagery intelligence with an optoelectronic system, while a side-looking position-radar station with an active phased antenna array is mounted in the forebody.

The Altius-M first flight was completed during 2014 with testing to be carried out during 2015. Enter into service is planned for 2017 or later, reports defenceblog.com.