The air force commanders of both Russia and India have this month discussed the progress and future schedule of the fifth-generation Sukhoi fighter project. They are keen to have their own pilots evaluate the design so that they can take a decision on further funding for the project.
Sukhoi PAK FA
An Indian negotiating team is heading for Russia to finalize details of the country’s participation in development of the Sukhoi T-50, also known by the Russian acronym PAK FA and by India as the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). India is providing half of the expected $11 billion cost to develop the aircraft, and earlier signed a preliminary design contract worth $295 million.
The third prototype of Russia’s new T-50 stealth fighter now has an AESA radar. Sukhoi reported this month that the program has logged more than 120 test flights, which suggests that only some 20 flights have been made in the past nine months. However, Russian air force commander Gen.
The joint Indo-Russian project to produce a fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) for the Indian Air Force is facing a two-year delay. It will now take nine years instead of the stipulated seven to develop. The Indian Air Force attributes the delay to Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), which has a workshare of 25 percent in the program.
Russian Air Force commander Gen. Alexander Zelin has elaborated further about aircraft acquisition plans under the country’s Weapons Program 2011-2020. His comments addressed the Sukhoi series of combat aircraft, as well as airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft, airlifters and the Yak-130 jet trainer. Zelin said that the air force will acquire about 60 Sukhoi PAKFA (T-50) fifth-generation fighters by 2020.
Russia’s first stealth fighter, the Sukhoi T-50, made its public debut last week at the Moscow Air Show (MAKS 2011), where Russian air force commander General Alexander Zelin gave an update on this and other re-equipment programs. The two T-50 prototypes flew in formation, before one gave a restrained solo display.
Sukhoi’s T-50 fifth-generation fighter program has made significant strides since the first aircraft (T-50-1) flew at the Knaapo factory’s airfield back in January 2010. The most important recent milestone is the first flight of the second aircraft (T-50-2), which is now scheduled to join T-50-1 in flight trials.
Following months of speculation, fueled by tidbits gleaned during the Zhuhai airshow in November, the first images of China’s newest combat aircraft were revealed in the week before Christmas. Believed to be designated the J-20, the aircraft is under development by Chengdu (611 Design Institute) and Shenyang, with the former leading the effort having effectively won a design competition in 2008.
Sukhoi has completed its preliminary flight and bench trials program for the T-50 PAK-FA fighter. Three airframes were built for the initial campaign, comprising one static aircraft (T-50-0), one flying prototype (T-50-1) and an avionics testbed (T-50-2). A display flight by T-50-1 on June 17 in front of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin marked the 16th time the aircraft had flown.
Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) managed to fly the fourth Superjet 100 prototype for the first time on February 4, notwithstanding continuing delays associated with the airplane’s engines, built by the joint venture between France’s Snecma and Russia’s NPO Saturn known as Powerjet.