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Russia’s state-of-art PAK FA fighter jet officially named Su-57

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© Sputnik/ Alexei Druzhinin

Russia’s fifth-generation fighter jet AK FA has officially been named as the Su-57, Russian Aerospace Forces Commander Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said Friday.

Russia’s fifth-generation fighter jet formerly known as Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation (PAK FA), or Sukhoi T-50, has officially been named as the Su-57, Russian Aerospace Forces Commander Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said Friday.

“The decision has been made, the aircraft got its name, like a child after the birth. Su-57 — from now on, we will call it that way,” Bondarev said in an interview with Russia’s Zvezda broadcaster.

The Su-57 is a single-seat, twin-engine multi-role stealth fighter designed for air superiority and attack roles. It is equipped with advanced avionics system and airborne active phased array radar.
The jet made its maiden flight in 2010. Yuri Slyusar, the president of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation, which is involved in building the aircraft, said last month that the first Su-57s could come into service in 2019.

Since its first flight in the early 2010s, the T-50, part of the Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation (PAK-FA) program, has received a vast series of upgrades to its avionics, stealth and armaments. On Wednesday, United Aircraft Corporation General Designer Sergei Korotkov confirmed that engineers are busy working on the creation of a next-generation engine for the plane, one that boasts increased thrust and fuel efficiency, lower cost, and improved reliability compared to the existing engine.

With six machines expected to be delivered to the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces by next year, the military plans to equip the air force with about 55 T-50 fighters by 2020, with mass production beginning after that.

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How Russian Su-57 5th Gen fighter evolved

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Russian pilots have survival kit at their disposal for case of emergency

Russia’s fifth-generation fighter jet, formerly known as the Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation (PAK FA), or Sukhoi T-50, has officially been named the Su-57. RIA Novosti contributor Andrei Kots takes a look at the evolution of Russia’s premier fighter jet.

Experts believe that the latest T-50-11 or the earlier T-50-10 variants of the original T-50 will inherit the onboard equipment of the T-50-9, which conducted its maiden flight on April 24, 2017. The United Aircraft Corporation’s CEO, Yuri Slyusarev, earlier said that the initial batch of 12 such planes will be supplied to the Aerospace Forces in 2019.

Initial Tests

Presented to President Vladimir Putin in 2014, the scaled-down model of the T-50 was a combination of the latest technological know-how for the Sukhoi Su-47 and MiG-1.44 prospective fighter jets, designed back in the Soviet days.

When the production of the F-22 Raptor fifth-generation multirole fighter, which became a legislator of fashion in the field of next generation fighter planes, started in the US in 1997, it became clear that Russia needed to replace the Su-27 with a plane that would be up to par with its Western counterparts.

PAK FA (Su-57) Photo: Russian MoD

Since its first flight in the early 2010s, the T-50 has receiving a vast series of upgrades to its avionics, stealth and armaments, Andrei Kots wrote. The T-50-1 prototype took to the skies on January 29, 2010, and the T-50-2 followed suit on March 3, 2011. After 40 successful flight tests the

T-50-2 took part in the MAKS 2011 air show. Before taking off, however, one of its engines caught fire forcing the pilot to abort. Engineers fixed the faulty engine and the T-50-2 flight tests resumed.

The T-50-3 flew on July 24, 2012. Unlike its predecessors, the new prototype carried onboard active phased-array radar. In December 2012, the T-50-4 took to the skies with the same radar array on board. Both prototypes proved fast and highly maneuverable and their state-of-the-art radar systems worked perfectly.

Second Stage

The T-50-6, T-50-8 and T-50-9 (maiden flights in April 2015, November 2016 and April 2017, respectively) were second-stage prototypes, enabling the use of upgraded AL-41F1 engines, similar to the ones powering the Su-35 fighters.

The second-stage engine, dubbed “Item 30,” will feature a new fan and control mechanism; it will be more fuel-efficient and will have greater endurance.

A pilot version of the second-stage PAK FA with a new engine is slated to fly later this year.
The T-50-6, T-50-8 and T-50-9 also have stronger airframes, bigger wingspans and make wider use of composite materials.

Flight tests are proceeding at full swing. Everything is going well. We are already testing in-flight missile launches and the plane is performing just fine,” Aerospace Forces Commander Viktor Bondarev told reported on the sidelines of the MAKS 2015 airshow.

All Set for Mass Production

In July, Viktor Bondarev said that the construction of the highly appraised ninth, 10th and 11th prototypes of the Su-57 was slated to begin shortly.

I see no physiological limits whatsoever for PAK FA pilots. The designers are working to make sure that much of the pilot’s work is done by the plane itself,” Bondarev added.

With six Su-57s scheduled for delivery to the Aerospace Forces by next year, with mass production beginning shortly afterwards, Andrei Kots concluded.

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China’s first home-grown aircraft carrier to be deployed ahead of schedule

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© REUTERS/ Stringer

Chinese military analysts say that advances and progress with the power generators for its Type 001A aircraft carrier place the massive ship ahead of schedule prior to its first deployment.
Type 001A could join the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA-N) by the end of 2018 or perhaps 2019, according to the South China Morning Post’s report on Monday. The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies previously estimated the carrier wouldn’t join the rest of the navy until 2020.

Before the Type 001A joins the active duty fleet, “we also need to a do a variety of systematic tests [at sea], including matching tests of carrier-based aircraft, weapons systems, and others,” the Type 001A’s project manager told SCMP.

The carrier will rely primarily on steam generators to power to over long distances. Construction on the carrier was finished in April, when it made its first launch into the open sea, and took just five years and three months to complete. Rebuilding the Soviet-made Liaoning (originally the Kuznetsov-class carrier Varyag), PLA-N’s only other carrier, is believed to have given the Chinese important lessons in building the massive ships, which are vital for long-range maritime expeditionary capabilities.

Deploying the Type 001A would be a major boost to a navy that is still in the early stages of learning how to conduct carrier operations. In particular, aircraft takeoff and landing can prove problematic even for naval crews with decades of experience. According to Andrew Erickson, associate professor at the US Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute, “already with China’s so-called starter carrier, Liaoning, there is significant potential in the near future to take it overseas for some basic naval diplomacy … and this will already have tremendous symbolic and psychological effects.”

It’s worth noting that the Chinese carrier will be propelled by eight steam turbines getting their power from diesel generators. The PLA-N just last week commissioned its largest-ever resupply ship, which has hoses for refueling Chinese carriers.

The US Navy’s 10 Nimitz-class carriers, first commissioned in 1975, are all powered by nuclear propulsion, but the first nuclear-powered carrier, the USS Enterprise, was actually decommissioned in February. Using a nuclear power source allows the ships to operate at sea continuously for up to 20 years without refueling.

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