On May 9, 2018, on Victory Day, a couple of very attractive, original in their configuration up-to-date fighter planes swept over Red Square. Those were the first samples of Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet. While the first batch of aircraft of this modification is about to be delivered to aviation units shortly.
Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Alexey Krivoruchko visited the Gagarin Aircraft Plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, a subsidiary of Sukhoi Aircraft Company, at the end of May 2019. Particularly, he examined the first production sample of the fifth-generation fighter being constructed – the promising front-line aircraft complex T-50 (Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation or PAK FA T-50), which was named Su-57 after being accepted to serial production. According to Deputy Defense Minister, at least 40 years of active life lie ahead for the aircraft, which will become a platform for further modifications of the complex.
PAK FA T-50 (Su-57) is a multi-purpose fighter jet, a perfect brainchild of Russian engineers. It has been fully developed in today’s Russia, on the Russian element base. It has a number of advantages typical for both strike aircraft and fighters.
The potential of the aircraft is enormous. It encapsulates the best experience of previous modifications of fighters. The complex is feature packed and multi-fuel. Both air and surface targets are its speed. Su-57 is barely visible in any spectrum – visual, thermal and electromagnetic. Thanks to the thrust-vectoring module, it demonstrates the portents of maneuver capability, has an extended flight envelope and hypersonic speed, which it achieves without opting for overdrive.
The fifth-generation fighter is sure-footed in short-range and long-range combat, has aircraft-based automated control systems and noise systems, and exhibits enhanced self-regulation, improved aerodynamics. It is able to correct pilot’s errors if necessary.
Moreover, Su-57 is a fine best flight criteria-stealth trade-off. Coupled with cutting-edge aircraft-based sensing equipment, the defense complex and new missile weaponry, the fighter can surpass all aircraft currently existing in the sky. In accordance with the revamp plan of the air arms, Su-57 will replace Su-27 that has run its course.
Additionally, Russia’s Defense Ministry and the Tactical Missiles Corporation plan to sign a large contract on missiles for that fifth-generation fighter shortly, Deputy Head of the Ministry Alexey Krivoruchko told journalists.
Not long ago he visited the Detal Design Bureau (part of Tactical Missiles Corporation) that produces components for air missiles, during a working visit to the city of Kamensk-Uralsky (Sverdlovsk Region).
Deputy Minister explained that the meeting that took place focused on the discussion tasked by the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation on the issue of concluding a big contract with Tactical Missiles Corporation on purchase of the full range of air-launched weapons for Su-57 in the near future.
Meanwhile, the whole air and technical staff of the Lipetsk Aviation Center started examining the unique characteristics of the fifth-generation fighter and mastering it in practice using pilot items of Su-57 already this May.
It should be noted here that the fighter has been developed and created amid challenging financial and economic environment in Russia. However, our designers and scientists have ponied up the cash for creating a fighter that leaves behind foreign counterparts.
International military analysts expect the Russian fifth-generation fighter Su-57 to keep up with the American F-35 and F-22 fighters as it will be 2.5-fold cheaper compared with its US counterparts, while in terms of certain indicators, such as maneuver power, it even surpasses them.
The price of F-22 fighter totals $146.2 mln per unit as reported by western media outlets, F-35 – from $83 mln to $108 mln depending on modification.
Now, the fighter's serial production has begun. It is planned that the first pilot batch of 16 systems will mark the start of Su-57 supplies to Russian military forces already this year. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on May 15, 2019 that the State Armament Program for 2018-2027 regarding the increase of the number of purchased fifth-generation fighters Su-57 (PAK FA) from 16 to 76 jets in the period through 2027 would be revised.