Global General

Russia's fifth-generation fighter T-50

Updated: 2011-02-15 17:31
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Russia's fifth-generation fighter T-50
T-50 [Photo/] 

The T-50 is the domestic name of Russia's fifth-generation fighter plane which has been developed as the Advanced Front-Line Aviation Complex (PAK FA) for Russia's Air Force.

The project started its development by the Sukhoi design bureau since it won the tender in April 2002.

The Tikhomirov Institute of Instrument Design, which developed the Irbis radar for the Su-35BM Flanker, has been working on the T-50 radar. The new fighter's radar and fire-control system will be designed on the basis of the Su-35BM's systems.

The new fighter's exterior design was approved on December 10, 2004.

Later, the fighter's design was approved, and the prototype blueprints were delivered to the KNAAPO aircraft building company based in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, where three experimental fighters will be built for testing.

In February 2009, the first prototype was constructed. After the plane was successfully tested on the runway, a decision was made to stage the maiden flight in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, rather than in Moscow.

The prototype fifth-generation fighter made a 47-minute maiden flight on January 29, 2010, in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.

Although T-50 specifications remain classified, fragmentary data on its engines imply that this heavy-duty fighter will have a take-off weight of more than 30 metric tons and will be close in dimension to the well-known Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker.

The new fighter's exterior was designed using Stealth technology, also known as LO technology (low observable technology).

The combat aircraft is fitted with 117S (upgraded AL-31) turbofan engines from the Russian aircraft engine manufacturer Saturn.

The PAK FA can carry either eight next-generation air-to-air R-77 missiles, or two large controllable anti-ship bombs weighing 1,500 kg each.

The new jet can also carry two long-range missiles developed by the Novator Bureau which can hit targets within a 400 kilometer range.

The jet can use a take-off strip of just 300-400 meters, and perform sustained supersonic flight at speeds over 2,000 km/h, including repeated in-flight refueling. The highly-maneuverable plane has a range of about 5,500 kilometers.

The fifth-generation fighter is equipped with advanced avionics to combine an automatic flight control system and a radar locator with a phased array antenna.

The newest combat aircraft are planned to be mass produced in Komsomolsk-on-Amur from 2015.