Monday, April 5, 2021

Russia's Fifth Generation Fighter - The Sukhoi Su-57 Enters Service

According to Russia Television, Russia's fifth generation fighter, the Sukhoi Su-57 (nicknamed Felon by NATO), has now entered mass production.  Here is the news story as told by RT:


The Su-57 is a single seat, multi-role attack and fighter jet with the co-pilot's duty being taken over by artificial intelligence.  It is equipped to destroy air, ground and naval targets with a wide range of weaponry. 


Here's what TASS had to say about the delivery of the first batch-produced Su-57 in late December 2020:



Here is another video from the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation  showing the Su-57 in action:


According to Rand, the Su-57 has been in development since 2002 and made its maiden flight back in January 2010.  The Su-57 was designed to compete with America's F-35 in global export market.  According to Tass, back in July 2019, a state contract was signed between the Sukhoi Aircraft Company and Russia's Aerospace Force for the delivery of 76 Su-57 fighters as shown here:


Let's look at the Su-57's hardware and technical capabilities


1.) Dimensions: 22 metres long, 14.2 metre wingspan, 6 metre height, 18.5 tonne empty weight


2.) Aerodynamics: the Su57 boasts a top speed of up to 2 Mach without the use of afterburners, a creasing speed of between 1300 and 1800 kmph and has a sub-sonic range of up to 3,500 kilometres.  Its service ceiling is estimated at 20 kilometres.  It uses thrust-vectoring which allows for supermaneuberability, giving it the ability to detect and neutralize aerial targets.  It features stealth technology and is constructed of composite materials and has an aerodynamic configuration that ensures low levels of radar and infrared signatures.


3.) Armaments: the Su-57 has two internal weapon bays located between its engines with two sidebars for short-range air-to-air missiles.  It is fitted with a single barrel 30 mm cannon that is capable of firing 1500 rounds per minute.  It is believed that the Su-57 will allow it to be fitted with Russia's K-77M beyond visual range radar-guided missiles.  It will also support the upcoming R-37M long-range hypersonic missiles.  While it is intended for air-to-air missions, had can use the Kh-38 tactical ground missile as well as guided bombs from the KAB family.


4.) Countermeasures: the Su57 is equipped with the IMA BK avionics package which is used to track enemy aircraft.  Its avionics suite included side-mounted electronically scanned array radar for increased situational awareness.  The Su-57 uses the 101KS Infrared Search and Track System which will allow it to detect and engage stealth aircraft at long distances.


Russia released a video showing its Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik hunter combat UCAV flying alongside the Su57 as a "wingman" as shown here:

The Okhotnik drone is capable of carrying out manned combat support missions and can also execute missions against selected targets including air defense systems among others. 


Here is a video from August 2017 released by the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation  showing the Okhotnik-B:


Sukhoi will deliver an additional 4 Su-57s in 2021 and 15 per year out to 2028 for a total of 76 aircraft.  

It would appear that Russia's fifth generation Sukhoi Su-57 is a very capable threat to the United States F-35 fighter as well as NATO assets in the region surrounding Russia.  Given its multi-role potential, the Su-57 will be a revolutionary armament in Russia's Air Force.  

1 comment:

  1. The SU-57 is an escort-level air-superiority fighter. The F-35 would require another aircraft type in that role to protect it 'in an opposed combat scenario'. In other words, if there was a possibility the F-35 could not just fly over unopposed and drop its bombs or whatever without being attacked by enemy aircraft, then it would need fighter escort to protect it from the enemy while it carried out its mission.

    The F-35 is a threat to itself and the pilots who fly it. And that was in 2016. In the intervening 5 years the USA has continued to build the F-35 in series production, while backfitting existing airframes as it runs across new problems. That this is pretty much the model for how not to build a multirole fighter-bomber is reflected in its soaring costs, and there is no longer any possibility it can be sold to allies at a profit - it needs allies to buy it simply in order to cover what it has already blown on a plane that flies like a grand piano.