Russia, India Close to Finalize Deal on PAK FA Fifth-Generation Jets

A PAK FA T-50 fighter jet performs a demo flight at the MAKS 2013 International Aviation and Space Salon in Zhukovsky.

 

During the upcoming annual Indo-Russian summit, an agreement is expected to be inked on the delivery of Sukhoi T-50 (PAK FA) fighter jets to India under the joint FGFA initiative, The Financial Express reported citing a senior military official.

The fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) programme is based on the Russian-made Sukhoi T-50 aircraft. It involves Russia’s Sukhoi Design Bureau and India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).According to the source, the agreement will include a fixed order for 154 jets, work share and a commitment to the number of single-seat and double-seat aircraft.

“Given the current situation, where the Indian Air Force (IAF) is in deep trouble due to its fast depleting force structure, the Indian government will need to take well thought out decision with long-term and strategic foresight. There is no doubt that the PAK-FA (Sukhoi Design Proposal) will be emerge as a major FGFA in the world. Hence, it would be better for India to take a reality check on the FGFA and recalibrate its position,” the source told The Financial Times.

In January, it was reported that Russia and India agreed on the project of the FGFA jet fighter. In February, Russia’s Rosoboronexport said all technical details had been settled, and the commercial part of the deal was in discussion.

The Sukhoi/HAL project is meant to radically upgrade India’s air strength through the combination of Russian expertise and Indian financing.

Russia’s fifth-generation Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA fighter jet, known in India as FGFA, is equipped with an advanced defense system that can neutralize an enemy plane’s stealth capability.According to Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar, the two countries have already injected about 230 million dollars into the FGFA project, which is based on the development of the T-50 aircraft.

The FGFA, which is expected to be armed with weapons of Indian origin, will fly at a speed of 2,300 kilometers per hour and will have a range of 3,800 kilometers.

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Russia’s new fifth generation fighter expected to participate in military drills next year

Sukhoi T-50 fifth generation fighter

Sukhoi T-50 fifth generation fighter

DONGUZ RANGE/Orenburg region/, September 18. /TASS/. Russia’s T-50 (PAK FA) fifth-generation fighter will be tested in military drills as soon as it enters service next year, Russian Air and Space Forces Commander-in-Chief Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev has said.

“The first T-50s should enter service in 2016,” Bondarev said, adding that the plane will be “immediately tested in all its capabilities in all the exercises like Su-30 and Su-35 jets.”

“The aircraft is excellent, it has huge capabilities, and moreover the aircraft computer will do the maximum itself, while the pilot will only control its actions. We lay great hopes on this plane and I think, it will justify them,” Bondarev said.

Earlier, Bondarev said that the PAK FA (Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation) fighter jet would enter service in 2016 and its serial supplies would start from 2017.

The PAK FA fighter jet showed high flight characteristics at the recent MAKS-2015 air show in Zhukovsky near Moscow. The aircraft performed several most difficult aerobatic maneuvers for the first time, including a flat spin and a tailslide.

Sukhoi PAK FA versus Chengdu J-20: Which Fighter Has the Bigger Punch?

A T-50 fighter performs demonstration flight during the International Aerospace Salon (MAKS 2015) in Zhukovsky near Moscow

 

The US magazine The National Interest, which takes much interest in comparing countries’ military hardware, has chosen a new pair of war machines to compare: Russia’s Sukhoi PAK-FA and China’s Chengdu J-20.

Though both aircraft are positioned as air superiority fighters, the magazine’s defense analyst doubts that the J-20 could be called as such.

“Overall, the J-20 could be the more useful machine if it was used as a strike aircraft,” the article says.

Chengdu J-20 fighter
Chengdu J-20 fighter

The analysis goes further, that if Russia was predicting for whatever reason in a conflict with China, the war would most likely take place on Russia’s territory rather than in China, specifically in Russia’s Far East.

Test flight of T-50, fifth generation fighter aircraft designed by Sukhoi OKB
Test flight of T-50, fifth generation fighter aircraft designed by Sukhoi OKB

“Range will be an important factor. While there is no specific information available about the range performance of either the J-20 or PAK-FA, given the size of the Chinese aircraft, one suspects it has longer legs. It probably also has a much greater payload.”

The Sukhoi PAK FA, also known as the T-50, had originally listed a maximum speed of 1,520 mph (2,446 kmph),  or March 2.35, which was then reduced to March 2.1, and, ultimately, to March 2 (1,330 mph, or 2,140 kmph at sea level). Its cruising speed would be 1,120 mph (1,802 kmph).

A PAK FA T-50 fighter jet
A PAK FA T-50 fighter jet

Its listed ferry range is 3,400 miles (5,471kmph), and it has an operational service ceiling of 65,000 feet (19,812 meters).

According to the data available on the J-20, it can climb at a rate of 304m/s. Its maximum speed is 2,100km/h. The range and service ceiling are 3,400km and 18,000m respectively.

These metrics favor Russia’s fighter.

Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA
Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA

While both are positioned as stealth planes, “it’s hard to say what would happen if the two were to meet head on in an aerial battle,” The National Interest states. “There has never been an instance where two stealth aircraft have met in an air-to-air encounter. “

The Chinese Stealth Fighter, Chengdu J-20
The Chinese Stealth Fighter, Chengdu J-20

“If the J-20 and PAK-FA prove to be genuinely stealthy, an aerial engagement might devolve into a within visual range dogfight.”

In such case, it says, “the J-20, which is powered by engines intended for the Sukhoi Su-27, is at a huge disadvantage”.

“Compared to the PAK-FA, the J-20 is underpowered and wouldn’t have the energy addition to keep up. Moreover, the PAK-FA has three-dimensional thrust vectoring for outstanding low speed handling. That means the Russian aircraft probably has the edge in turn rate, turn radius and high angle of attack performance.”“But if both sides have high off-boresight missiles and helmet-mounted cueing systems, with a little luck, the J-20 might get a lucky shot—however, the PAK-FA probably still has the edge.”

Russia’s Secret Weapon: Advanced Training Jet Perfect for Combat Missions

Russian-made Yak-130 trainer/strike aircraft

 

Unlike the Sukhoi T-50 or other top-of-the-line Russian jets, the Yakovlev Yak-130 is not a headline-making name but it is a modern, potent and most importantly versatile aircraft, which surely unnerves NATO as much as the PAK FA or MiG-35.

First and foremost, the Yak-130 is hailed as a prime lead-in fighter trainer – superior to anything the US has at the moment. Student pilots fly the Yak-130s to master the intricate art of operating fourth and fifth-generation fighter jets.

But the subsonic two-seat aircraft NATO calls Mitten has also proved itself as a credible low-cost alternative to expensive combat aircraft. It is capable of carrying out light-attack and reconnaissance missions.

“The Yak-130 is a proven lead-in fighter-trainer with combat capability that can also serve in the kind of counter-insurgency war that the US Air Force has found itself fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria,” defense analyst Thomas Newdick observed. “Small and agile, but able to pack a punch, the Yak-130 is also useful in … asymmetric warfare.”

Not surprisingly, many countries, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Uruguay and Vietnam, are contemplating adding Yak-130s to their arsenal. And the primary reason for the purchase is not its training capabilities.

“Most of the other nations that have looked at the Yak-130 have counter-insurgency or other light combat requirements, on top of any training role,” Newdick noted in an article titled ” Russia’s Lethal Yak-130 Fighter: The Tiny Terror NATO Should Fear.”

The aircraft was originally developed by the JSC A.S. Yakovlev design bureau and Italian aircraft manufacturer Aermacchi as part of a joint project, which also gave birth to the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master.

The M-346 is essentially a modified version of the Yak-130. Pilots in Italy and Israel will fly it in their training for the newest US fifth-generation fighter jet, the F-35 Lightning II. The model could also be used to replace aging American jet trainers.

The aircraft made its maiden flight in 1996 and entered service in 2010. Russia’s Defense Ministry purchased nearly 70 planes and placed an order for 150 Yak-130s to be delivered by 2020. The plane was also sold to Belarus and Algeria. Bangladesh is said to be the next country to ink a deal for the delivery of the Mitten.

“Which is an ironic twist. It’s not inconceivable that Russian and American pilots destined for the ‘fifth-generation’ T-50 and F-35 will both learn how to fly in what is very nearly the same aircraft,” the analyst stated.

India may purchase production PAK FA fighters instead of developing a fifth-generation fighter in cooperation with Russia

 

Sukhoi_T-50_Beltyukov

According to some sources, Indian air forces reconsidered their acquisition program due to financial reasons and are now going to purchase about 54 fifth-generation fighters (18 ones for each of their three squadrons), Vzglyad reports with reference to Defense World.

Another reason for changing the plans is that New Delhi thinks that development of the new vehicle will take too long (around 8 years). According to Defense World, India is afraid of falling behind China, which is also developing a fifth-generation fighter.

On April 2nd 2015 US mass media reported that Indian-Russian joint program for development of the fifth-generation fighter (FGFA) has been put on hold. Indian Ministry of Defense stopped answering Russia’s inquiries related to negotiating the matter.

The final stage of state testing of PAK FA fighter was started

 

cfsp775

State testing of T-50 (PAK FA) fifth-generation fighter is entering its final stage; the jet demonstrates great performance and outmatches its foreign analogues, Vzglyad.ru reports with reference to Commander-in-Chief of the Russian air forces, Viktor Bondarev.

«The testing is in progress, it demonstrates great performance, the weapon system works great in terms of attacking both ground and air targets. The deliveries will be started next year; we are completing tests,» RIA Novosti cited Bondarev.

The Commander-in-Chief explained that the fighter would feature some stealth technologies, which is more important compared to speed (PAK FA’s maximum speed is over Mach 2). Missile is of great importance in terms of combat capabilities. «It is fitted with the latest equipment and weapons. Moreover, we are trying to implement all the latest solutions in this project,» the General added and noted that it’s possible in case no changes in the aircraft’s design are necessary.

Russia’s newest fighter jet T-50 not meant for export in near future — official

“We have no right to promote this product or to disclose its parameters until a legal decision has been made to put it on the list,” Rosoboronexport official said
 

LE BOURGET, June 18. /TASS/. Russia’s 5th generation jet T-50 will not be offered to foreign customers in the near future, the chief delegate of Russia’s weapons exporter Rosoboronexport at the Le Bourget air show, Sergey Kornev, said on Thursday.

“At the moment the T-50 plane is not meant for export. There is number one list of all types of products for all arms and services that we are empowered to export. At the moment this plane is not on the menu,” Kornev said in reply to a question.

“We have no right to promote this product or to disclose its parameters until a legal decision has been made to put it on the list,” Kornev said.

The T-50 mockup the United Aircraft Corporation has presented at Le Bourget merely demonstrates Russia’s capabilities and cutting edge technologies. The plane will begin to be advertised as soon as it appears in the catalogue of military products allowed for export.

This may happen not necessarily after the T-50 is authorized for use inside Russia.

“As you may know, some weapon systems began to be exported first to be authorized for use at home later,” he said.