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Sukhoi T-50 - 5th gen. fighter flies
by IKE 29-Jan-2010 11:30

After a completely secret development process today the new 5th generation fighter of the Russian Air Force made its first flight and was presented to the rest of the world. The T-50 prototype with test pilot Sergey Bogdan took off from the Sukhoi 's facilities in Komsomolsk-on-Amur (east Russia, near the Pacific) and made a 47min flight where the basic systems were tested and the landing gear was cycled. The T-50 prototype (and the production plane that will come later) is the first Russian-designed stealth fighter and together with 4th gen Su-27 derivatives will consist the core of the Russian air force in the near future.---

The first question is how stealth is the T-50. Externally it looks like a mix of a Su-35 and an F-22. It has the general shape of the Su-35 but with a more faceted front fuselage, much smaller vertical stabilizers and very big lerx. Sukhoi seem to have targeted front area low observability because in the front the T-50 follows all the stealth design trends with aligned inlets and fuselage surfaces and -probably- hidden compressor fans. However the mid and rear fuselage (especially the underside) has a lot of bulges and non-aligned edges. Most importantly the engine cowls are rounded and lead to a circular nozzle that doesn't help to reduce the RCS of the aircraft.

The T-50 has been designed to use 3d vector nozzles. It has all-moving vertical tails and the front part of the LERX is also movable and acts as a canard in a similar way to some Su-27 versions.

The final production aircraft will probably have active counter measures and special coatings. It is constructed from advanced composite materials and Sukhoi says that it will be innovative in the LO field. In general it seems that Russian designers don't want to commit to a primarily stealth design like the F-22 but a compromise like the -smaller- F-35.

The T-50 have two NPO Saturn 117S engines, an AL-31F derivative that is used in the latest Su-35 and produce 14.5 ton thrust each.

The avionics are made from Ramenskoe Design Bureau and are very advanced with a 6-processor computer. T-50 will also have networking capabilities with the ability to exchange data in real time with a variety of other platforms.The radar will be an AESA with 1500 transceiver / receiver modules developed by Tikhomorov NIIP and will be produced by Iztok.

The final production aircraft is expected to enter service in 2015, about 15 years after the PAK-FA program started.

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Official video from the first flight:


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