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 PAK FA
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.
Years of speculation were brought to an end last Friday with the long-anticipated public debut of Russia’s new Sukhoi T-50 fighter, on the occasion of its first flight. Test pilot Sergey Bogdan took the prototype aircraft aloft for a successful 47-minute maiden voyage from Dzemgi airfield at Komsomolsk-na-Amur, followed by the public release of still and video imagery.
The first flying prototype of the Sukhoi Superjet (SSJ) 100 regional jet, the second airframe built, was handed over to Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee Register for certification flying in late October. Four aircraft will participate in the program, and six in general flight testing.
AVPK Sukhoi’s ambition to use U.S.-built avionics on the Russian Regional Jet appear dashed due to an apparent lack of interest on the part of both Honeywell and Rockwell Collins. Honeywell, developer of the Primus Epic avionics software implicated in the certification delay of the Embraer 170, simply failed to respond to Sukhoi’s request for proposals, according to the Russian company.
The backlog of orders for Sukhoi’s Superjet 100 regional airliner passed into three figures yesterday when Russia’s AviaLeasing signed a heads of agreement for 24 of the 95-seat model and options for 16 more. Here at Farnborough today, Sukhoi is expected to announce a breakthrough order from a Western operator.
Sukhoi’s Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Industrial Association (KnAAPO) has started manufacturing the first development prototypes of an advanced fifth-generation fighter. Sukhoi told AIN that it will complete an experimental aircraft in the second half of next year, after which it will start flight trials.
Ask someone in the Russian aviation community about the Russian Regional Jet (RRJ) program and you’ll likely receive a variety of reactions. Except for those enterprises that have a vested interest in the project, responses range from the skeptical to the derisive.
The technical board composed of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, Boeing and associate member Snecma officially launched the Russian Regional Jet program last month following the completion of a full review of the project’s fourth development phase. The decision arose from meetings between Sukhoi and Boeing executives, who discussed details related to marketing and sales, design and development, production, certification and customer support issues.