Russia is developing its first long-range drone aircraft capable of conducting ground attack missions, but lags behind other militaries in building unmanned aerial combat vehicles, according to U.S. officials.

The Internet is lined with satellite photo of the Russian long-range attack drone Altius-M at the factory airfield Kazan APO Gorbunov. The photo was taken September 25, 2014.

U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports said the drone is being called the Altius-M and work is being done at the Sokol Design Bureau in Tatarstan, a Russian republic.


Recent analysis of images of the propeller-driven aircraft indicates the drone will be a medium or high-altitude strike aircraft, based on its long wingspan and V-shaped tail, the officials said.

The aircraft appears similar to the U.S. MQ-9 Reaper missile-firing UAV.