US Against Seoul Plan to Sell Jets Fearing Technology Leakage to Russia

The KAI T-50 Golden Eagle


The US government has opposed South Korea’s plans to export T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic training jets to Uzbekistan as it fears a possible leakage of technology to Russia, the Korea Times newspaper reported citing a military source on Sunday.

T-50 Golden Eagle was jointly developed by the Korea Aerospace Industries’ (KAI) and the American aerospace, defense and advance technologies company Lockheed Martin in 2006.Thus, under US Arms Export Control Act, Korea is obliged to coordinate its export deals with the United States.

KAI intended to sell 12 T-50 jets worth $400. Despite the US opposition, the Korean Ministry of National Defense still seeks to keep contacts with Uzbekistan on the matter.

“As Uzbekistan has close ties with Russia, the US is worried that an export of T-50 to Uzbekistan may lead to its technologies being transferred to Russia,” the source was quoted as saying.

Currently, South Korea exports T-50 to Iraq, the Philippines and Thailand.

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.

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.

PAK FA vs F-22 Raptor: If Stealth Isn’t an Issue, T-50 ‘Holds the Edge’

A T-50 airplane during demo flights at the Russian stage of the Aviadarts-2015 Flight Skills Competition in Voronezh

Who would be victorious in an epic battle between Russia’s first next-generation fighter jet, the Sukhoi PAK FA, and the US-built Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor?

It’s a tough call since both fifth-generation aircraft have so much in common.

“Everything about the PAK-FA suggests that it is similar in concept to the Raptor – being optimized as a fast, high flying and stealthy air superiority fighter,” defense analyst Dave Majumdar noted.

The Sukhoi PAK FA, also known as the T-50, and the F-22 Raptor have equivalent maximum speed (1,520 mph for the PAK FA and 1,500 mph for the F-22), range (2,175 miles for the PAK FA and 1,840 miles for the F-22) and service ceiling (approximately 65,000 feet for both models).

Majumdar maintains that both stealthy, single-seat, twin-engine multirole jet fighters are also quite comparable in terms of kinematics, particularly once the T-50 is fitted with new engines.They differ greatly when it comes to stealth and the comparison is not in the T-50’s favor.

“The T-50’s design places far less emphasis on all-aspect low observables. Instead, it focuses on frontal aspect stealth – thus it has a so-called ‘Pac-Man’ signature whereas the F-22’s signature looks more like a spider if one were to look at it from a God’s eye view,” the expert asserted.

Two US Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters fly near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. File photo
Two US Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters fly near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. File photo

It is hard to say at the moment whether stealth will be a game changer in the aerial battles of the future but the Sukhoi PAK FA has other aces up its sleeve.

“While the F-22 might be holding a better hand when it comes to stealth, the Russians have the edge in maneuverability. The T-50 is equipped with three-dimensional thrust vectoring and all indications seem to point to the PAK-FA having an edge in terms of agility,” Majumdar noted in an opinione piece for the National Interest.

  • Russia's T-50 fighter at the MAKS-2011 International Aviation and Space Show in Zhukovsky.
    Russia’s T-50 fighter at the MAKS-2011 International Aviation and Space Show in Zhukovsky.
  • Su-34 (left), T-50 (centre) and Su-35 (right) aircraft at the 2015 MAKS air show's opening ceremony in the Moscow suburban town of Zhukovsky.
    Su-34 (left), T-50 (centre) and Su-35 (right) aircraft at the 2015 MAKS air show’s opening ceremony in the Moscow suburban town of Zhukovsky.
  • Russian first stealth fighters T-50 performs during MAKS-2011, the International Aviation and Space Show, in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, on August 17, 2011.
    Russian first stealth fighters T-50 performs during MAKS-2011, the International Aviation and Space Show, in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, on August 17, 2011.
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Russia’s T-50 fighter at the MAKS-2011 International Aviation and Space Show in Zhukovsky.

The bottom line is that both cutting-edge aircraft have advantages over each other and could come out victorious. Much will depend on the battle specifics than anything else.

“All things being equal, if stealth turns out to be everything it’s cracked up to be against a peer-level threat, the PAK-FA could be at a distinctive disadvantage. If the US Air Force’s faith in stealth proves to be a fallacy, the PAK-FA holds the edge,” the expert concluded.

The T-50 is a stealthy, single-seat, twin-engine multirole jet fighter designed for air superiority and attack roles.The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a single-seat, twin-engine, all weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft designed primarily as an air superiority fighter. It has additional capabilities including ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles.

The Raptor has been in service since late 2005. The T-50 is in the flight testing stage and is expected to be commissioned in late 2016.

PAC FA (Advanced Tactical Air Sistem) T-50
PAC FA (Advanced Tactical Air Sistem) T-50

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



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.

Ukrainian components for KnAAZ to be replaced by the Russian ones


Deliveries of Russian components for military aircraft manufactured at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aviation plant (KnAAZ, a subsidiary of “Sukhoi”) should begin before the end of 2015. New domestic products is intended to replace Ukrainian counterparts, the Ministry of Industry and Transport of the Khabarovsk Territory, with reference to the plans of the United Aircraft Corporation and the company “Sukhoi” informed on July 21.

“In order to address the issues of import substitution plan for the development of components production in Ukraine in the Russian Federation was developed. The new domestic products are intended for the production of military aircraft of the Su-34, Su-30M2 and Su-30MK2, Su35S, T-50, manufactured by a branch of “Sukhoi” KnAAZ named after Yuri Gagarin and Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association named after Valery Chkalov”, the acting deputy chief of the department of industry and the introduction of scientific and technical programs of the region Alexey Abrosimov said. – Shipments of domestic products on aircraft factories is planned for 2015″.

F-35 to be easy prey for the T-50


According to experts from different countries, the US “Future Fighter” F-35 would be an easy prey for Russian fifth generation fighter aircraft T-50 and advanced anti-aircraft missiles – such as C-400/500 or “Pantsir-C1.” We tried to figured out why.
It is expensive and slow

F-35 Lightning II was conceived as a “world plane” – that is, they must be delivered not only to the US Air Force but also its allies. This gave the opportunityfor prospective buyers to get acquainted with the aircraft in advance.
Results were not impressive. In particular, representatives of the military department of South Korea found that they could not get the F-35 to the desired time.

In addition, the American fighter does not meet Korean requirements for speed and the amount of weapons. The Americans explained that external suspension for missiles destroyed the main advantage of the F-35 stealth. And the speed of 1.2 Mach (about 1200 kilometers per hour) is quite acceptable for the aircraft invisible. Confused Korean pilots and one engine “Lightning” – it leaves no chance to hold on to the airfield in case of breakage or hit by enemy missiles.
Even more pessimistic head of the analytical agency “Air Power Australia” Carlo Kopp. In his view, F-35 does not meet the majority of requirements for the fifth generation fighter. Because of poor maneuverability, low cruising speed, low-power motor and a weak armament Dr. Kopp took the Lightning II to the 4+ generation aircraft, and not to the best of its models.