Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Takes to the Skies

KUALA LUMPUR: The story from Ria Novosti is self explainatory. For Malaysian Defence followers however, it was the third favourite for the next RMAF fighter jet. The Gripen NG took top spot with the Super Hornet taking the second spot. My favourite the F35 was among the tail enders. Anyways from the pictures the Russian latest plane look a bit too much like the Raptor…..

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Russia’s prototype fifth-generation fighter made a 45-minute maiden flight on Friday in the Far East, Russian television reported.

The flight had been postponed for 24 hours due to poor weather conditions in Komsomolsk-on-Amur where the prototype is being tested.

“The plane showed a superb performance. It has met all our expectations for the maiden flight,” said Olga Kayukova, a spokesperson for the Sukhoi aircraft manufacturer.

Russia has been developing its newest fighter since the 1990s. The country’s top military officials earlier said the stealth fighter jet, with a range of up to 5,500 km, would enter service with the Air Force in 2015.

Russia’s fifth-generation project is Sukhoi’s PAK FA and the current prototype is the T-50. It is designed to compete with the U.S. F-22 Raptor, so far the world’s only fifth-generation fighter, and the F-35 Lightning II.

The PAK FA is to be equipped with the most advanced technology and armed with next-generation high-precision weaponry.

India, which has a long history of defense relations with Moscow, remains Russia’s sole partner in the project.

India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) was reported to be seeking a 25% share in design and development in the project. It has also sought to modify Sukhoi’s single-seat prototype into the twin-seat fighter India’s Air Force wants.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 1188 Articles
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19 Comments

  1. The PAK FA looks is like a combination of the F-22 and the F-35. The RMAF still stick with their decision to procure the Super Hornet and there’ll be no possibility for us to see more Russian-made fighter in our inventory. Personally, I prefer it if the govt choose the Russian-made aircraft over the US-made aircraft. I still believe that the Gripen and the Super Hornet are still the strong contenders for the next MRCA procurement project. Anyway, with the current funds available, I believe that such a big project will remain on the wishlist only.

  2. The Raptor was a makeover of the F-15, and now we have a Russian plane that looks like a Su-27 makeover. Yawn…..

  3. Report from Flight Global

    Sukhoi’s PAK FA fighter completes first flight – By Vladimir Karnozov

    Sukhoi has conducted the first flight of its prototype PAK FA fifth-generation fighter, with the aircraft having conducted a 47min sortie this morning. Flown from KnAAPO’s Komsomolsk-on-Amur site, the PAK FA was piloted by Sergei Bogdan, and “performed excellently”, says Sukhoi. “In the course of the flight we conducted initial evaluation of the aircraft controllability, engine performance and primary systems operation,” says Bogdan. The aircraft’s landing gear was also retracted and lowered during the first flight. The PAK FA is powered by two NPO Saturn \”Item 117\” engines, developed from the Item 117S design already flown on Sukhoi’s Su-35 and a Su-27M testbed. The experimental aircraft’s integrated flight control system controls the engines, along with all other major systems. Sukhoi says other key design elements include the use of composite materials, advanced aerodynamic techniques and measures to reduce the aircraft’s engine signature, which it claims results in an “unprecedented small radar cross section in radar, optical and infrared range”. The PAK FA is also equipped with an advanced phased-array antenna radar, it adds. Russia\’s Tikhomirov NIIP displayed an active electronically scanned array design for the fighter at last year\’s Moscow MAKS air show. “This is a great success of both Russian science and design school,” says Sukhoi director general Mikhail Pogosyan. “The PAK FA programme advances Russian aeronautics, together with allied industries, to an entirely new technological level. “These [PAK FA] aircraft, together with upgraded fourth-generation fighters, will define Russian air force potential for the next decades,” he adds. The first stage of flight trials involving the PAK FA prototype will last until 2012, when the Russian defence ministry and air force are expected to decide on the future of the project. A production version is expected to be designated the T-50. The new design could also form the basis of a proposed fifth-generation fighter to be produced in collaboration between Russian and Indian companies. “I am strongly convinced that our joint project will excel its Western rivals in cost-effectiveness and will not only allow strengthening the defence power of Russian and Indian air forces, but also gain a significant share of the world market,” says Pogosyan.

  4. From Ares

    PAK FA Flies

    Russia’s fifth generation fighter, Sukhoi’s T-50 prototype, was flown for the first time from Komsomolsk-on-Amur on Russia’s Far East at 11.19 local time on Friday, January 29. After the 47 minutes flight the aircraft landed at the airfield of Sukhoi’s KnAAPO facility which assembles PAK FA prototypes.

    The T-50 is intended to meet the Russian air force’s PAK FA requirement for a next-generation fighter.

    The first prototype was flown by Sukhoi test pilot Sergey Bogdan. He says it was easy and comfortable to control, and the aircraft performed well on all stages of the flight test program. “During the flight we have conducted the initial evaluation of the aircraft’s controls, performance of the engine and main systems. The aircraft also retrieved and extracted a landing gear”, said Bogdan.

    The T-50 design reflects a greater emphasis on low-observable shaping than Moscow’s previous fifth-generation effort, MiG’s 1.42 program

    Sukhoi started the development of PAK FA in the early 2000s. The first flight was initially scheduled for mid-2009. Three prototypes one of which was delivered to Moscow and is being used for static tests. In December another PAK FA prototype started taxi trials at KnAAPO facility. The third aircraft is believed to be used as a complex full-scale stand intended for ground testing.

    Sukhoi doesn’t reveal technical parameters of the new fighter. Nevertheless it’s known that PAK FA prototypes will be powered by a pair of NPO Saturn 117S engines. These engines, a further modification of AL-31F, rated at up to 14.5 ton thrust are now also installed at the new Su-35 multirole fighters.

    The T-50’s avionics suite is being developed by Ramenskoe Design Bureau. The company’s head Givi Djanjgava earlier explained that the suite includes six-processor computer, visualization tools and flight instrument system.

    According to Sukhoi, PAK FA avionics integrates ‘electronic pilot” function and AESA radar being developed by Tikhomirov NIIP design bureau. NIIP’s full-scale phased array antenna was unveiled at Moscow MAKS in August 2009.

    At that time Anatoly Sinany, Tikhomirov’s chief designer, explained that T-50’s radar antenna will have 1,500 T/R modules, produced by Iztok company from Fryazino, near Moscow. The new avionics will give T-50 network-centric capabilities, enable it to exchange real-time data within the air group and with ground command posts.

    But the first PAK FA prototype is likely to fly without radar as it’s just passing bench tests. The first radar for the aircraft is expected to be ready in mid-2010.

    Sukhoi also reports that the new fighter implies composite materials and innovation technologies that together with the aerodynamic shape of the fuselage and reduced engine’s signature ensure its low radar, optical and IR visibility.

    The new aircraft is expected to enter in service in 2015 and will be supplied to the Russian Air Force along with Su-35 fighters. Commenting the start of PAK FA flight trials, Sukhoi head Mikhail Pogosyan also mentioned that India will join the program on later stages.

  5. what is the recommended retail price (RRP)?

    Marhalim: I have no idea but its certainly cheaper than the Raptor and the F35s….

  6. hi,too many negative coment on your own country’s defence.the best thing orang melayu boleh majukan pertahanan is to buy more additional su-30’sstandardise all mrca to avoid logistic catastrophe.russian willing to trade su-30 with mig-29n so why not.then only think of having different sets of mrca from western country.

  7. The plane has more close resemblance to the YF 23 than to the F22 nor the JSF. The YF23 was a more stealthy concept/design to the F22, which eventually lost due to the US gov favouring a slight trade off in stealth to get F22\’s better maneuverability. The Pak Fa simply looks like a today\’s Update to the YF 23, which gives it more maneuverability, which looks like might be surpassing F22\’s if not match it. A planned frame less cockpit development is on the way. Also on the rounded nozzles, it seems they have a different approach to reduce IR signature and not follow the F22\’s method which gives a penalty of 20-30% loss in thrust. Basically the plane is a prototype, there will be more changes as the development gets underway. I\’m really ecited to see more developments to this plane to make it more stealthy.

  8. I’m more interested as to what engines are being used and whether the engines, radar and other flight gear will have a longer MTBO than present russian ones? And what about the operating costs as opposed to current russian fighters? According to a magazine, the hourly operating cost of an F-15 is US44,000! How much s are flying hours forthe MKMs, which have very thirsty engines, costing the ‘rakyat’? Anyhow, the T-50’s entry into service date is some years away, barring any delays, so it’s a bit early days to make any conclusions about it.

    Marhalim: NPO Saturn site did mentioned that they are developing an engine for the T50 but it do not state whether its ready so perhaps they are using the 117C engine for the first flying T50, The 117C is a development of the AL-31F series engines which also powers our Sukhois….Its difficult to arrive at the cost hours for our planes, especially the Sukhois….perhaps once the Fulcrum are retired maybe then we can get them to give out the numbers….

  9. Since we’re on fighters…. Marhalim, you mentioned a while back that during the Cold War, to help stem the tide of the ‘evil’ and ‘godless’ communists down the Malayan peninsular, the Saudi goverment had offered to fund Phantom fighters. I recall reading this elsewhere, I forgot where. Do you know of any online references to this? Thank you.

    Another one for you Marhalim.. I’m very curious about the LIFT and basic flight traning done in the RMAF.

    1. In view of the fact that quite a number of Nuri, Hawk and PC-7 losses have been attributed to human failure do feel that perhaps a review needs to be done over how the RMAF conducts its training?
    2.Are pilots receiving enough basic training or of the right quality before leaving the FTCs? 3. Are the fighter pilots receiving enough hours in the air every year? Judging by the hours the Fulcrums have flown it seems the MiG pilots have been doing more than their fair share of flying. In 1986, the chief of RMAF said that A-4 pilots were averaging about 20 hours a month, IMO thats a lot.
    4. Are the local exercises the RMAF participates in realistic or challenging enough or are they scripted with each side knowing who is going to do what and who is going to win?
    5. Is it true that the PC-7 MK2s are based in gong Kedak?

    Marhalim: So many questions not enough answers! The Saudi deal I believe was excerpted from Tunku Abdul Rahman memoirs and I have not seen any online reference on it.
    2) The training as far as I am told is as good as it gets but since we have not been combat tested its really a matter of conjecture. Yes, most of the crashes were down to human errors but not due to inadequate training but mostly to the temperament of the pilots themselves. From history we know that pilots with white fangs in their hair never last long in the battlefield, only a few does, read Sakai and Hartman memoirs to really understand the phenomenon.
    3) Yes, they flew adequate flight numbers despite the low budget, as you might gather from the Nuri story even the pilots are getting up to 30 hours a month although its a much lower figure than they had previously.
    4) PC-2 Mark II stationed permenantly in Gong Kedak? I have no idea…

  10. Hi Marhalim, I am a bit surprised that your choice for the RMAF’s next MRCA is the F-35. Any particular reason? The JSF program seems to have run into some serious cost issues, without much performance to justify it.

    The PAK-FA actually seems like a good bet (on paper anyway), (supposedly) carrying 10 AAMs as opposed to the Raptor’s 8 and longer ranged ones too.

    Marhalim: I chose the F35 due to the fact that realistically the time when the government has the budget and the political will to buy new MRCAs, will be 2015 and above, and by that time period, the F35s will be the newest operational Western fighter.
    Yes, the PAK FA may look good on paper but as the RMAF is finding out supporting Russian planes are not that easy. Furthermore, the rules for the procurement and maintainance of the F35s will mean that the middlemen will be squeeze out from the deal. Yes, they might still find ways to go around it, read the off-set programme but at least not many will get the chance to buy their Panamera Turbos and marry some two-bit artiste with the “proceeds” from the deal…..

  11. Marhalim, thanks for taking to time to respond to my questions. Yes, I’ve read ”Blond Knight” and ”Winged Samurai”.

    I can’t vouch for its accuracy but according to another blog a major problem is a lack of fluency in English and the inability by some ground personnel to decipher technical manuals that are in English. Anyway getting back to the training, if I’m not mistaken pilots do about 50 hours on the PC-7 at FTC 1 before being streamlined to fixed wing or rotary.

  12. though i do conviced our current facillities is sufficient enough to accomodate this bird(with some infdrastructure upgrade of course),the only realistic time frame i can think which malaysia will operate one is if singapore already bought F-35,plus another 3 years

  13. I don’t agree with most people that wants the super bugs cos the americans won’t give us the source codes to conduct operations..only for shows.thats y i prefer european or russian fighter..

  14. Anonymous……, the ‘codes’ issue has been dealt with in depth in this blog and the RMAF section in defencetalk [read it up]. An article about it also appeared in the Malay Mail. There is a difference between SOURCE and OBJECT codes.

    Not having the codes DOES not mean the
    F/A-18Ds can’t fire in anger or be used only in airshows. For your infomation, neither the Europeans or Russians provide the source and object codes either.

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