The Sukhoi Su-57 is a new Russian stealthy multi-role fighter
The Sukhoi Su-57 is a new Russian fighter aircraft. It started life of the PAK FA (or Future Frontline Aircraft System). Originally it was thought that the PAK FA is an air superiority fighter, however it turned out that this aircraft has a secondary ground attack capability. This new stealthy aircraft was designed to replace ageing MiG-29 and Su-27 fighters. It can be seen as a Russian answer to the US F-22 Raptor. Development of this aircraft commenced in 2001. A T-50 prototype was revealed and made its maiden flight in 2010. In 2014 a pre-production prototype was delivered to the Russian Air Force for trials and evaluation.
These trials were completed in 2015. It was planned that this fighter aircraft will enter service in 2017-2018 and should reach full operational capability by 2020. However by 2017 the aircraft was not ready for full-scale production. Most likely that setbacks were related to technical issues, incomplete development of some of its core systems, such as engines, new missiles and electronics, as well as funding problems. In 2017 the PAK FA received a regular Su-57 designation. Russian Air Force has a requirement for up to 150-200 of these new multi-role fighters.
Meanwhile the Russian Air Force orders Su-35 multi-role fighters as an interim measure, until the Su-57 stealthy fighter becomes available. By 2018 at least 9 Su-57 aircraft were built including prototypes and pre-production fighters. It was planned that in 2018 a first batch of 12 pre-production fighters will be delivered to the Russian Air Force. In fact in 2018 a couple of pre-production Su-57 fighters were deployed in Syria. In 2019 Russian Air Force ordered a first batch of 76 Su-57 fighters. Full scale production began during the same year.
Though in 2019 there was a first known crash of the Su-57. This new stealth fighter crashed during a test flight after the control systems have failed. This could become a setback into mass production of this Russian stealthy fighter. Series production was slow. In 2022 it was announced that only 2 Su-57 fighters to the Russian Air Force during the year. Deliveries were planned to be completed by 2028, though it is unclear if the Russians will compete this goal on time. It is claimed that the Su-57 will be also proposed for export customers.
Despite being referred as a fifth-generation fighter, there are some serious doubts about it, as some US Military officials referred the Sukhoi PAK FA only as advanced fourth-generation fighter. Russia still lags behind in the development, acquisition and employment of some of the latest technologies. Though the Sukhoi Su-57 definitely has reduced radar cross-section and a number of other improvements over the current Su-35 multi-role fighter.
Development of this aircraft was partially funded by India, which also planned to acquire up to 250 of these next-generation fighters, known as the HAL FGFA or Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft. It was planned that the Indian version will be different from the Russian version. Some sources suggested that the HAL FGFA will have a twin-seat configuration. However in 2018 India pulled out of the project, which it believed did not meet its requirements for stealth, combat avionics, radars and sensors by that time.
Layout of the Su-57 is generally conventional. This multi-role fighter uses stealth shaping to deflect radar waves. ωɛλρσɳs are stored in internal weapon bays, that do not compromise the stealthiness to radars. Overall it is less visible to radars than the the previous Russian fighters.
This Russian fighter was expected to use two Saturn 117S (AL-41F1S) engines, producing 86.3 kN of thrust dry and 142 kN in afterburning. The same engines are used on the Su-35S multi-role fighter. However during its maiden flight the T-50 prototype used a completely new Saturn engines, that generate more thrust. Exact specifications of the new engines are unknown. Some sources suggest, that the new engines produces 175 kN of thrust in afterburning. The Su-57 is capable of flying at supersonic speeds without using its afterburners.
Two large internal ωɛλρσɳ bays are mounted in tandem between the engines. There are also two sidebays for short-range air-to-air missiles. It is believed that this aircraft will carry up to 7 500 kg of ordnance. That’s enormous amount of ωɛλρσɳs. This fighter has 10 internal and 6 external hardpoints for the R-74M (Western reporting name Archer) and R-77M (Adder) air-to-air missiles, Kh-38M air-to-surface missiles, Kh-31AD and Kh-35U (AS-20 Kayak) anti-ship missiles, Kh-31PD and Kh-58UShK anti-radiation missiles, KAB-250, KAB-500 and KAB-1500 guided bombs. It is planned that the PAK FA will be also capable of carrying BRAHMOS NG air-launched cruise missile, as soon as it becomes available.
This fighter is fitted with a single-barrel 30 mm cannon. This ωɛλρσɳ has a firing rate of 1 500 rounds per minute.
The Russian Sukhoi Su-57 will also be available as a twin-seater.