Sukhoi PAK FA

TypeStealth multirole fighter
Country of originRussia
First flight28 January 2010
ProducedTest flight/pre-production
Numbers built3
Unit costsUS$47.5-57 million
Max speedMaximum speed: 2,100 - 2,500 km/h (Mach 2+) (1,300 - 1,560 mph) ; at 17,000 m (45,000 ft) altitude
Cruise speed: 1,850 - 2,100 km/h (1,150 - 1,300 mph)
Max rangeFerry range: 5,500 km (3,417 miles)
Service ceiling: 20,000 m (65,600 ft)
DimensionsLength: 19.8 m (65.9 ft)
Wingspan: 14 m (46.6 ft)
Height: 6.05 m (19.8 ft)
Wing area: 78.8 m2 (848.1 ft2)
WeightEmpty weight: 18,500 kg (40,785 lb)
Loaded weight: 26,000 kg (57,320 lb)
Useful load: 7,500 kg (combat load) (16,534 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 37,000 kg (81,570 lb)
Powerplant2 × AL-41F1 for prototypes turbofan, 147 kN (33,047 lb for prototype; >157 kN (34,620 lb) (for definitive version) each
ArmamentGuns: None on prototype. Apparent provision for a cannon (most likely GSh-301). Possible two 30 mm cannons.

Hardpoints: Two internal bays Other sources suggest two auxiliary internal bays for short range AAMS and six external hardpoints
OperatorsRussia and possibly India will operate this fighter's derivative in the future

The Sukhoi OKB is currently developing its new twin-engine jet fighter called PAK FA (Perspektivny aviatsionny kompleks frontovoy aviatsii, literally “Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation”) for the Russian Air Force. The development started with the Sukhoi T-50, the prototype for PAK FA. The PAK FA is designed to replace the MiG-29 and Su-27 in the Russian fleet. The aircraft will be categorized to the fifth generation jet fighter and be the basis of the Sukhoi/HAL FGFA which is under development with India.

Mikhail Pogosyan, Sukhoi director, has expected to market total of 1,000 units of PAK FA through the next four decades. The projection includes a joint venture with India with 200 units each for Russia and India and 600 will serve with other countries.

The Indian Air Force will purchase 50 single-seater fighters of the Russian version prior to the two seat FGFA version is produced. The Russian Defense Ministry will acquire the first 10 aircraft after 2012 and then 60 after 2016. Vietnam will be the second export customer for the fighter. The PAK-FA is envisioned to own a service life of about 30-35 years.

The Development of Sukhoi PAK FA

The development of Sukoi PAK FA commenced in the late of 1980s when the Soviet Union required a next-generation fighter in frontline service replacing the Su-27 and MiG-29. Two projects were proposed for this requirement, they were the Mikoyan Project 1.44 and the Sukhoi Su-47. More than 15 years later, Sukhoi were granted to lead the new fighter project, resulting in the PAK FA program.

Five years later, in 2007, Russian Air Force Commander Alexander Zelin announced the development step of the PAK FA program had been accomplished and production of the first aircraft for flight testing would begin. He also said that by 2009 there would be three fifth-generation aircrafts ready. On 17 August 2011, Russian Air Force chief said the Sukhoi T-50 will enter service in 2014-2015.

However, the maiden flight had been postponed several times since 2007 as the T-50 stumbled upon unspecified technical issues. Finally, the T-50 carried out its first flight 29 January 2010. On 3 November 2011, The PAK FA program accomplished its 100th flight.

The T-50 was exhibited openly for the first time at the 2011 MAKS Airshow.

Additionally, for Russian Navy, there will be navalized Sukhoi T-50 PAK FAs which will be operated on the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and future aircraft carriers. However, Sukhoi will compete with Mikoyan and Yakovlev design bureaus for developing the naval fighter.

The Design of Sukhoi PAK FA

Sukhoi PAK FA is a supersonic stealth fighter which has the ability to supercruise armed with the next generation of air-to-air, air-to-surface, and air-to-ship missiles, integrates a fix-mounted AESA radar with a 1, 500-element array and has an artificial intellect (AI).

Composites are utilized substantially on the T-50 and make up 25% of its weight and nearly 70% of the outer surface. Titanium alloy usage dominates the structure of its fuselage. For minimizing radar cross-section (RCS) and drag, Sukhoi uses two tandem main weapons bays in the centre fuselage, between the engine nacelles.

The T-50 has been designed to be more maneuverable than its rival, the F-22 Raptor, but it makes the fighter becomes less stealthy than the F-22.

For powerplant, the PAK FA uses a totally new engine 117 (AL-41F1) in its first flight. The engine is not based on the Saturn 117S. The 117 (AL-41F1) is a new fifth generation engine custom built for Russia’s fifth-generation stealth fighter jet PAK-FA as outlined by Sukhoi General Director Mikhail Pogosyan.

The engine provides a larger thrust and has a complex automation system, to help in flight modes which include maneuverability. Each engine will be capable of separately vector its thrust upwards, downward or side to side. Vectoring one engine up with the other one down can develop a twisting force. Consequently the PAK FA would be the first fifth generation fighter with full 3-D thrust vectoring along all three aircraft axes: pitch, yaw and roll. These engines will integrate infrared and RCS reduction measures.

For avionics, the PAK FA uses SH121 radar complex includes three X-Band AESA radars positioned on the front and sides of the aircraft. The PAK FA will also feature an IRST optical/IR search and tracking system, based upon the OLS-35M which is presently operating with the Su-35S.

People still guess what armaments will be equipped on the PAK FA as the fighter has a maximum weapons load of 7, 500 kg. It has a noticeable provision for cannon (possibly GSh-301). The aircraft has two internal bays. Some sources reported there are two auxiliary internal bays for short range AAMS and six external hardpoints.

Two Izdeliye 810 Extended Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles along with K74 and K30 within visual range missiles can also be carried. Other possible loads include one 1, 500 kg bomb per weapons bay or two 400 km+ range anti-AWACS weapons on external hardpoints and multiple 250-500 kg precision guided bombs per weapons bay, with a maximum of 10 bombs in internal bays.

Sukhoi PAK FA videos

‘Russian Stealth’ 1st public flight: Sukhoi PAK FA T-50 at MAKS airshow


Russia’s Sukhoi PAK FA T-50 1st Flight

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